Nation's First City-Wide WiFi Network Completed

Although Zamora, Spain was the first city in the world to implement a true city-wide WiFI network, it appears that Grand Haven, Michigan has become the first city in the United States to implement a city-wide WiFi broadband network.<br /> <br /> From the <a href="http://www.walkersands.com/Grand-Haven-First-Citywide-WiFi.htm">press release</a>:<br /> <br /> <blockquote>"As the first WiFi city in America, Grand Haven has truly lived up to its name in the Internet era, as we now allow anyone anywhere to connect to the Internet and roam the city and waterways in a completely secure computing environment," Mayor Bergman said. "The city-wide WiFi service provided by Ottawa Wireless is already enhancing the quality of life for residents and tourists and enabling the city to provide new services."</blockquote>

August 1, 2004, 8:47 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


Although Zamora, Spain was the first city in the world to implement a true city-wide WiFI network, it appears that Grand Haven, Michigan has become the first city in the United States to implement a city-wide WiFi broadband network.

From the press release:

"As the first WiFi city in America, Grand Haven has truly lived up to its name in the Internet era, as we now allow anyone anywhere to connect to the Internet and roam the city and waterways in a completely secure computing environment," Mayor Bergman said. "The city-wide WiFi service provided by Ottawa Wireless is already enhancing the quality of life for residents and tourists and enabling the city to provide new services."

Wi-Fi Coverage MapAfter reading the press release I was at first confused, since I've read about many other cities that had wireless networks, but I was set straight by the interesting article: Is Grand Haven, Michigan Really the First Wi-Fi City?, which also compares the wireless coverage in Grand Haven with other city wireless networks, like Spokane, WA; Half Moon Bay, CA; and Rio Rancho, NM.

I just returned from several days of meetings in beautiful Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon. How great would it have been to be fire up my laptop and have internet access from wherever I happened to be? But aside from the convenience and the cool factor, I bet most city managers would be more interested to know if there are direct and quantifiable economic development impacts from Wi-Fi'ing your city.

Thanks to Slashdot for the article reference.


Chris Steins

Chris Steins is Planetizen's co-Editor-in-Chief, and the founder and chief executive of Urban Insight, a leading technology consulting firm that operates Planetizen.

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