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Sprint & Cisco Bring WiFi to Downtown KC

Sarah Thomas

Kansas City will soon join the ranks of Cisco's global Smart+Connected Cities thanks to a partnership between the vendor, the city and its hometown wireless operator Sprint.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) said Thursday that it is working with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and the city of Kansas City, Mo., to build a WiFi network along the city's 2.2 mile street car line that cuts through downtown. Sprint says it's the first mobile service provider to play an important connectivity role in one of Cisco's Smart+Connected City deployments.

Cisco has similar city projects live in Barcelona, Spain; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Hamburg, Germany. (See IoT Council, CityWorks Coalesce in Chicago and Cisco to Open 3 More IoT Innovation Labs.)

For Sprint, this is part of a much bigger push around WiFi. The new Wireless Broadband Alliance member also recently inked a deal for WiFi offload in airports with hotspot provider Boingo Wireless Inc. and is making WiFi the centerpiece of its push into the enterprise. (See Sprint, Google & 20 Others Join WBA, Sprint Taps Boingo for Airport WiFi Offload and Sprint Officially Unveils Workplace-as-a-Service .)

Go for the WiFi, Stay for the Chorizo
Chipotle has also decided to make KC its shining example, making it the only test market for its new menu item, chorizo. This taster gave it two thumbs up (or maybe it was the margarita talking).
Chipotle has also decided to make KC its shining example, making it the only test market for its new menu item, chorizo. This taster gave it two thumbs up
(or maybe it was the margarita talking).

Sprint hasn't said whether it will deploy WiFi in other cities, but it has recently made Chicago a focal market as well, deploying LTE-Advanced here first and opening up new retail locations through its partnership with Radio Shack. (See Sprint to Bring 540 Jobs, LTE-A to Chicago .)

Know what else is in Chicago? The Big Telecom Event! It's happening June 9-10, so hurry and get yourself registered today!

Why this matters
While other cities in the US have WiFi built out through public-private partnerships, it's typically a deal made between the vendor and city, as with Ruckus Wireless Inc. in San Francisco. Sprint's involvement makes this project unique. (See San Fran Starts the Hotspot 2.0 Ruckus and San Fran Taps Ruckus to Unwire its Outdoors.)

Sprint's headquarters is in nearby Overland Park, Kan., but it's been making improvements across the city to bolster its network reputation, including building a new wireless system at Kauffman Stadium, deploying 2.5GHz spectrum at its Sporting Park soccer stadium and in its basketball arena, aptly named the Sprint Center. (See Sprint CEO Claims Next-Gen Network Will Be #1.)

KC is also home to the Sprint Accelerator, where it fosters startups in the mobile healthcare field, and Pinsight Media+, its data analytics and advertising subsidiary. Sprint hopes to monetize its investment in KC WiFi through commerce and advertising. (See Sprint Accelerator: Changing Carrier DNA and Sprint Plays by Its Own Rules, Too.)

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— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
6/6/2015 | 1:24:57 PM
Public Transport
Putting wifi in places where there is public transportation is huge.

It's amazing to me the number of trains, buses etc. that still don't have wifi for riders to use. Using public transport is a great way to be productive, but it requires that there is wifi!
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