Cities Join Intel's Wi-Fi Program


A group of leading technology companies has started a program to offer cities resources and discounts to encourage development of wireless networks, both for city services and for residents. The "Digital Communities" program is supported by Intel, Cisco, Dell, and IBM, among others, and more than a dozen cities around the world are currently participating. Organizers of the program believe that wireless municipal networks have the potential to improve services and save money in areas including emergency responders, such as firefighters and police, and civil servants, such as meter readers and building inspectors. Beyond city services, wireless networks allow cities to provide Internet access to all of their citizens, including poor and otherwise underserved communities, argue supporters. In addition to saving money over other communication systems for city workers, the networks can create revenue for cities that choose to charge for Internet access. Taipei, Taiwan, one of the cities involved in the program, is planning to use the network to create an online university program for its 2.63 million residents.

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