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Madison's Wi-Fi Project Comes to Life

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, downtown Madison's wi-fi project has come to life, albeit a small one.
Computer users within several hundred feet of the YWCA at 101 E. Mifflin St. should be able to pick up a signal from a transmitter atop the building, said Dick Grasmick, the city of Madison's chief computer expert on Tuesday.

And it's free, for now.

The device is still being tested, so uninterrupted service cannot be guaranteed. The YWCA site is just the first transmitter to go online for what is slated to become a 9- square-mile "cloud" of wireless Internet access centered on the Capitol by March.

Full-fledged WiFi service will eventually cost users somewhere between $15 to $25 per month, but the system is not yet set up for customer billing, said George Twigg, a spokesman for Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

So Internet access is free - albeit spotty - while it's being tested.

To access the network, users can scan for available net works and look for a network titled "MadCity Broadband," Grasmick said.

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Update 12/29/05: Kristian Knutsen of the Isthmus Daily Page did a walk around the Capitol Square to test wi-fi signal strength. See article for locations where reception is and isn't available. And thanks to Kristian for the link to WisBlawg!