AT&T has kicked off a pilot Wi-Fi program in New York City's Times Square that will provide a large outdoor hotspot zone that AT&T users can access with their smartphones, laptops, netbooks, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices. The "hotzone" is a pilot deployment designed to explore the use of Wi-Fi in areas with high 3G traffic and mobile data use, AT&T said.
"Whether they're emailing photos and videos to friends back home, downloading a restaurant review, or ordering discount Broadway tickets online, people in Times Square want the mobile broadband connection that lets them get the most done in the least amount of time," said John Donovan, AT&T chief technology officer. "With this pilot AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone, we're examining new ways to combine our Wi-Fi and 3G networks to help ensure that AT&T customers in Times Square always have a fast mobile broadband connection to do what matters most to them. It's another example of how AT&T is exploring the ideal blend of technologies to maximize the mobile experience for our customers in New York City."
Depending on the results of the pilot location, AT&T said it might deploy additional hotzones in other areas across the country. The one in Times Square is available at no additional charge for some 32 million AT&T customers with qualifying smartphone, 3G LaptopConnect, and AT&T HIgh Speed Internet plans.
Eye-Fi on Tuesday announced plans to aggressively expand its Wi-Fi networks to its Hotspot Access service, both here and abroad. All told, the company says it will add hundreds of thousands more Wi-Fi networks around the globe by the end of May.
"Digital photography lets us capture the moments of our lives, wherever we are," said Jef Holove, CEO of Eye-Fi. "Now we can enable our users around the world to back-up and share these memories from anywhere, whether they are traveling abroad or out running errands."
The latest expansion efforts follow the addition of more than 21,000 Wi-Fi hotspots last month through a partnership with AT&T. Users can also upload photos through any Starbucks in the U.S., as well as Marriot Hotels, Barnes & Nobles, and more, the company said.
In related news, Eye-Fi also announced the launch of the Eye-Fi Geo X2, a Wi-Fi enabled memory card designed exclusively for those in the Apple camp. The Geo X2 integrates with Macs, iPhone, and MobileMe.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to our new X2 line and the improved experience it’s brought our users,” said Jef Holove, CEO of Eye-Fi. “Now we’re bringing the Eye-Fi Geo X2 exclusively to Apple so that their users can effortlessly upload photos and videos for seamless editing and sharing with iPhoto and MobileMe.”
The Class 6 rated Geo X2 will be available in May for $70.
Customers of Time Warner Cable's Road Runner internet service in New York City have a reason to exult. All of them are now eligible for free Wi-Fi internet access across New York. There are literally thousands of free hotspots scattered all over NYC for them, thanks to a deal between Time Warner and Cablevision, which means that customers of both “will be able to access free, unlimited Wi-Fi services in each other’s New York City metro service areas, allowing for a fast Internet connection at designated Wi-Fi zones.” A valid Road Runner username and password is enough to enjoy free Wi-Fi. Of course, there is a dedicated page to help locate hotspots.
Alcohol has been blamed for some pretty outrageous things over the years, but this is the first time I’ve heard anyone blame it for copyright infringement. It’s a bizarre argument to make, but its likely one a UK based bar owner will be considering after being handed down an £8,000 fine, which works out to about $13,000 USD. Worse yet, the bar is likely not even responsible for the infringement since the offense occurred on the pubs open Wi-Fi hotspot, a fact that is sure to spur an interesting debate over responsibility.
According to Internet law professor Lillian Edwards of the Sheffield Law School, open Wi-Fi operators “should not be responsible in theory” for the actions of their users. The bar will likely be immune from the disconnection clause in the new Digital Economy Bill since it can be classified as a public communications service provider, but it will be interesting to see if this will also eventually get them out of the fine as well.
The debate over who is responsible for network security is an interesting one, and is sure to eventually cross borders as well. If laws end up making it too dangerous to operate open hotspots, what’s next? If a neighbor comes along and cracks your WEP key and downloads copyrighted material, do you fine the owner of the router for not having stronger security?
A nifty new device by Option promises to turn 3G signals into a WiFi hotspot, while also serving as a central hub for connecting networked devices like an external hard drive via USB. Option says its device also supports printer sharing for anyone with access to the network.
"Option placed significant emphasis on product design during the development of the GlobeSurfer III: the device will not look out of place among the many stylish consumer electronic devices commonly found in the modern home," Option states in a pres release. "With its completely wireless configuration the GlobeSurfer III can be wall-mounted or sit on a desktop or shelf. This allows the router to be placed anywhere in the home, office or workshop to ensure optimum coverage and performance."
The new GlobeSurfer III uses the Qualcomm 7225 chipset and, according to Option, delivers HSUPA upload speeds of up to 5.76Mbps and download speeds up to 7.2Mbps.
How connected to the internet do we need to be? I already tote my laptop everywhere in the house with me. Often it is quicker to email me as opposed to calling me. As it is, my wife gets mad at me if I bring the laptop in to watch a chick flick on TV with her. It is as if I mitigating my affection for her by not suffering through Sex and the City with her.
As if my internet addiction isn’t bad enough, Chrysler is making a roving hot spot option available on it’s mini-van’s. I now have to convince my wife that she needs a mini-van. Then maybe I can get the dealer to slip in the UConnect Web option on the sly. I can then play dumb when she asks why I have an internet connection so often when she is diving down the road. “Oh a lot of open hot spots in this neighborhood, honey.” Do you think she’ll buy it? Me either.
From a technical aspect the UConnect Webis way cool. It is however also pretty disturbing too. I cringe when I think of all the people I see driving in rush hour traffic shaving, applying makeup, reading the paper, or working their Crack- uh, I mean BlackBerries. I can just imagine adding a laptop to the mix. It’s bound to create a lot more combination vehicles like a “Chevroler”, or a “Forlet”. Of course, vehicles combined due to driver inattention just lose all of their value.
With around 40,000 traffic fatalities a year in the US now, do we really need to get our hit off the net in the car too? We don’t need to add fatalities beyond Fatal1ty to the information super highway. Chrysler’s intention is for the service to be used by the kids in the back seat, but do they really believe that is where it will stay? This article from the NY Times says no, but do you agree?