Going Wi-Fi to attract
|ONLINE EXTRA: What
is a Wi-Fi? Find out here.
(Above) Photo from intel of their persoinal video
player. Analysts are agog over the personal video
player, or PVP, that chipmaker Intel and ReplayTV maker
SONICblue are working on. Intel will show off several
prototypes of the Walkman-sized PVP, with a 4-inch
screen and storage for more than 10 hours of movies, at
the Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show.
Beach to offer high-speed Internet access free for one hour
, Staff writer LONG BEACH Will a free hour of
high-speed wireless Internet access persuade the technologically
savvy to spend their lunch breaks downtown?
City officials hope it will. Long Beach recently began providing
free wireless access on Pine Avenue between First and Fourth streets
and will formally unveil it at 10 a.m. Friday at the Pine Square
"It's just a convenience for business people, travelers or
conventioneers who want to go to (downtown) Long Beach for dining,'
said Chet Yoshizaki, manager of the city's Economic Development
In addition, Yoshizaki said the city plans similar free access
zones at Long Beach Airport and at the Convention Center.
The systems allows users to access the Internet at broadband
speeds by laptops or handheld computers, such as Palm Pilots, using
an increasingly popular standard called Wi-Fi, Yoshizaki said.
Wi-Fi is commonly used to network personal commuters inside homes
and offices. It's also widely used at airports, cafes and other
locations, often for by-the-minute fees.
Wi-Fi adapter cards for laptop PCs are widely available for less
than $70 and many newer laptops come with them installed.
In deference to local business owners worried about Internet
surfers hogging up tables for extended periods of time, Yoshizaki
said users will be able to use the downtown Wi-Fi network for only
an hour a day. Access at the airport and Convention Center will be
Starbucks on Pine Avenue offers Wi-Fi access for T-Mobile
"HotSpot' customers starting at a rate of $2.99 for 15 minutes.
The downtown Wi-Fi service has been available for the past few
days, said Lorenzo Gigliotti, who owns the Long Beach-based Web
development firm G-site. For the project, Gigliotti said his company
"greatly discounted' its normal fees.
Yoshizaki said he hopes the city benefits by attracting visitors,
conventioneers and diners.
Yoshizaki said that most of the equipment and services needed
were donated by private companies, including G-site, Intermec,
Vernier Networks and Color Broadband. He said he expects the city's
annual cost for running the network to be about $4,000.
A log-in page automatically appears after users start their Web
browsers. Users supply their e- mail addresses to log in, which
Gigliotti said are only used for administrative purposes. He said
the companies involved hope to recoup some of their investment
through advertisements on the downtown Web portal he operates, to
which users are automatically taken after logging in.
The Web site will also promote downtown businesses with links to
local news, entertainment and dining, he said.
A growing number of cities are exploring the idea of installing
such networks in downtown areas, include San Francisco, Seattle,
Jacksonville, Fla., and Lodi.
Yoshizaki said the companies involved in providing the access in
Long Beach should benefit from the exposure.
"It's a win for them and a win for us,' he said.