Wireless From Every Lamppost

from the Wireless-New-York-City dept

There was some buzz starting with a NY Post story late yesterday about NYC selling the rights to put wireless transmitters on the top of lampposts and the NY Times has more details on the plan today. The main goal appears to be to fill in cellular coverage gaps — something New York City has been focused on for a while. Two wireless carriers are involved (Nextel and T-Mobile — interestingly, the smaller top tier players) though, the plan will allow all the carriers to use the base stations. Even more interesting isn’t just the cell coverage, but the fact that the poletops can be used for WiFi access points as well — and the fact that IDT will then use it to offer VoIP service, specifically for low-income families. Some of the details still seem a bit unclear, but it could get interesting if NYC really is covered in a WiFi network from every lamppost. Both of these stories spend a lot of time on people worried about the health issues of having so many base stations around but there’s little evidence of a real issue, and it’s unlikely to stop the project from going forward either way. The story isn’t clear on how the WiFi service would be offered, but it might be interesting to see how Verizon responds, seeing as they’ve covered a good portion of Manhattan in WiFi via their public telephones.

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