Grand Haven, Mich., makes splash with full-city Wi-Fi coverage: This seems like yet another city announcement, but it might be the first city with this scale of access that 100-percent live and commercially available. (Dissenters, please write in.) While there are plans for Cerritos, Santa Clara, and Chaska (Minnesota) to have full coverage, Grand Haven may have beaten them to full deployment. (Take a look at this excellent page designed by Ottawa Wireless's PR firm: it's exactly the kind of clueful PR that should be encouraged: he's putting his money--or maps--where his mouth is.)
The folks at Ottawa Wireless sent out a press release full of the technical details, such as their support for 802.11a, b, and g, and the fact that their service extends 15 miles into Lake Michigan, providing access for boaters and marinas. The coverage extends six square miles across the town, and it's optimized to handle VoIP; a beta test is in progress right now that will cost $30 per month for unlimited calling nationwide.
The service has 300 subscribers at its formal launch out of a local population of 12,000. However, th town sees two million--yes, million--visitors a year. Customers include the city, and public safety and health groups will eventually use the network.
Ottawa Wireless cleverly layers applications and specific performance statements on top of its network, providing VPN, wireless video monitoring, and what they call 55 mph access--even while you're speeding across the lake, you can still use Wi-Fi.
Service costs $20 per month for 256 Kbps, $45 for 512 Kbps, and $80 for 1 Mbps access. Day rates run from $5 for a single day to $17 for seven days (less than $2.50 per day), obviously aimed at the vacationer who spends a week or several weeks in town or on the lake.
For $25 per month, you can get unlimited in-town roaming as a plan, or, if you spend $200 upfront, you get 256 Kbps service in your home, plus a home wireless network, and unlimited roaming. That's a good bundle. The 512 Kbps and 1 Mbps business services include one account for unlimited in-town roaming.
My friends and colleagues Richard and Angie recently passed through Grand Haven as part of their 8,000-mile RV trip and vouched for the service.