Free hotspot network spans central Paris

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The city of Paris will install a network of free access hotspots open to all users. The project will be implemented by SFR and Alcatel-Lucent and has, in a first phase, 262 access points sponsored by the municipality of the French capital.

The project is similar to the one already implemented in other cities, such as San Francisco, and includes outdoor spaces and public buildings, such as museums and libraries. The number of hotspots should be expanded to 400 in the near future, encouraging the use of the Internet in situations of mobility.

According to the information made available by the French media, the installation of the service will cost 2.5 million euros in the first phase, plus 500 thousand euros per year spent on communications and network maintenance.

Despite considering being at the “limit of legality”, as it is not their role to provide telecommunications services, the heads of the Paris council claim to have advanced with the project because there is a lack of private initiative and that they have contacted the telecommunications authority (ARCEP) who did not oppose the project.

The municipality also intends to give operators the opportunity to install their own private networks and should open a tender for the concession of spaces in 2007.

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