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Minneapolis to get citywide wi-fi access

Wi-Fi Planet reports:

As reported last week in our Hotspot Hits, the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota is the latest big municipality to pick a partner for installing citywide Wi-Fi. US Internet of Minnetonka is the vendor, and will use mesh equipment from BelAir Networks of Ottawa, Ontario.

Wireless Minneapolis is the name of the overall initative, which will eventually cover 168,000 households within 59 square miles with Wi-Fi for broadband. The cost for end users is expected to be around $20 a month for 1 Megabit per second (Mbps) downloads (more for businesses). Deployment should take about 1,600 to 1,800 BelAir nodes.

The Pioneer Press said on Saturday Sept. 2 that the deployment will have to race against the notorious Minnesota winter -- not so much for the snow, but to do a full site survey to decide where to put the mesh nodes while the interference-causing leaves are still on the trees

How will this affect students on campus?

The Star Tribune also says that the suburbs of Minneapolis not covered by this wireless deal are already looking for their own wireless broadband solutions. At least one (Richfield) and the University of Minnesota (which has no outdoor coverage) are considering using US Internet as well, essentially extending the network to their locations. This would allow seamless roaming for customers in those areas. A 17-city group affiliated with the Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission is also considering it, but hasn't made a decision. The twin city of St. Paul is seeking proposals from Wi-Fi network providers.