Two Calif. cities add muni wireless

Both networks provide access to public and emergency responders, but in Pacifica, public users must pay.

Two Bay Area cities have signed up vendors for municipal Wi-Fi networks. Foster City, Calif., selected MetroFi to build out their new municipal Wi-Fi network. The city will offer free wireless access to 30,000 residents through a three sq. mi. mixed-use network, which will also provide the city's fire responders with better communication.

"We are very excited about the prospect of having Wi-Fi services available in Foster City," said Steve Toler, the city's administrative services director in a press release. The 1Mbps connection is based on SkyPilot's high-capacity mesh backhaul products, which include Wi-Fi access points, mounted on street lights.

The free network will be supported by advertising; users can pay $20 a month for an advertising-free service.

Pacifica, Calif., recently approved a contract with Veraloft, to create a wireless connectivity system providing free service for municipal use and offering monthly contracts to residents, the Pacifica Tribune reports.

As in Foster City, the network will support both public Internet access and public safety functions. Thus police and fire will be able to access the Internet from the field. An unusual aspect, though: There is no free public access. All users will have to pay some monthly fee.

Robert Hayes, President and CEO of Veraloft, explained that customers should be able to use their laptop computers outside with the service and use readily available wireless modems in their homes. He also said the company will not require annual contracts, but will use monthly contracts for service.

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