Open Park Offers Free WiFi

Open Park Project launches free WiFi service on Capitol Hill, as part of its plan to offer free access across the National Mall

April 28, 2004

2 Min Read

WASHINGTON -- The Open Park Project, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit, launched the first public outdoor wireless Internet hotspot in the nation's capital today. The free service provides coverage in front of the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and the Capitol Visitors' Center site. The Capitol Hill hotspot is the initial step in Open Park's plan to provide free public wireless Internet service across the National Mall.

Open Park is using the popular Wi-Fi technology employed in home networks and coffee shops. The group's free hotspot "will give the public outside the Capitol the same quick Internet access for research, email and news that their representatives enjoy inside their offices," said Open Park's co-founder, Greg Staple, a Washington communications lawyer. "It's a hotspot for democracy," said Staple.

The group also announced today that it had received a significant donation of Wi-Fi equipment and services from Tropos Networks, Inc., of San Mateo, California, a leading supplier of systems used to build metro-scale Wi-Fi networks. The donation will enable Open Park to establish a mesh of free hotspots on the Mall, beginning this summer. By 2005, the group's goal is to create a public Wi-Fi zone from the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill that will also serve as a national test bed for new wireless applications.

"Washington policymakers deserve a firsthand look at how quickly innovation can develop in unlicensed spectrum bands such as those used by Wi-Fi," said Kevin Werbach, a technology analyst and co-founder. "From Wi-Fi phones to radio location tags to portable guides for park rangers, the possibilities are extraordinary," he added.

"We welcome the support of other high tech companies and individuals in implementing this vision," said Leo Cloutier, a telecommunications consultant who serves as the project's chief technical adviser and network architect. "We believe that Washington deserves a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi net on the Mall. Open Park is focused on marshaling the resources necessary to provide this 21st Century community service."

Open Park Project

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like