Hermosa Beach launches citywide Wi-Fi network

Hermosa Beach (pop. 21,000) is launching the first phase of its citywide free wireless broadband service (www.wifihermosabeach.com) on August 11, 2004. The initial area of connectivity will cover approximately 35% of the city and center around downtown, City Hall, and adjacent neighborhoods. Hermosa Beach, a surfing community in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, considers wireless connectivity to be a cityHermosa Beach (pop. 21,000) is launching the first phase of its citywide free wireless broadband service (www.wifihermosabeach.com) on August 11, 2004. The initial area of connectivity will cover approximately 35% of the city and center around downtown, City Hall, and adjacent neighborhoods. Hermosa Beach, a surfing community in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, considers wireless connectivity to be a city “utility” and will offer free wireless Internet with up to 6 Mbps of bandwidth to residents and visitors. I have written about the city’s plans in the past and I am pleased to see that the network is up and running.

The citywide network is the brainchild of City Councilman Michael Keegan. Michael runs the Manhattan Bread Company, a local bakery/caf?¬© that has been providing Wi-Fi access to customers. He convinced the rest of the city council to support his plan to unwire Hermosa Beach. “The vision is to provide the Internet to the city in the way that other basic services are offered, as a public amenity and convenience,” says Keegan.

Details of the project

Hermosa Beach put the project out to bid in May and chose local systems integrator, LA Unplugged, to install and maintain the network. They are using a Strix Systems mesh solution and point-to-point antennas. Local business sponsors are helping the city pay for the network.

In the first phase, the city placed 9 nodes along Pier Avenue with coverage extending to 35% of the city, thus allowing users with line of sight of these elevated antenna locations to access the network. Those outside this initial area can also tap into the signal if they have line of sight to City Hall. The commercial areas of Pier Ave, along with City Hall and the Public Library will be “lit up”.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood on August 11, stop by for the kick off between 16:00 and 18:00 at the beautiful 1935 Art Deco-style Hermosa Beach Community Center (710 Pier Avenue) with a reception following at Sangria Restaurant (68 Pier Avenue). Refreshments and food will be available to all attendees. Hundreds of residents and city council members will be present to celebrate the event. Don’t forget to bring your Wi-Fi device!

Links:
Hermosa Beach goes wireless – for details on the deployment, maintenance and backhaul costs of the project
Wi-Fi Hermosa Beach website

* * * UPDATE 17 August 2005 * * *

The city voted to hire Treyspan to build a citywide Wi-Fi network. Unlike Michael Keegan’s original plan, however, Treyspan will charge users for access. I understand that this is the only way that Michael could get the city council to vote in favor of extending access throughout the city (i.e. beyond the beach area). Read more here.

Comments

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