Arizona capitol goes wireless

Having decided to make the capitol in Phoenix a wireless hot zone, the Arizona legislature can claim bragging rights over their colleagues in other states, at least for a little while.

Any portable computer user with wireless local-area network 802.11b or 802.11a capability can now surf the Web or collect e-mails in the House and Senate areas of the Arizona capitol, as well as other public areas. The service was turned on last month, and access is free to the public.

The legislators themselves, however, won't be as affected by the new service. At least while they are doing business on the floor of their respective chambers, state representatives and senators have their own wireline connections to the Internet.

The wireless service, dubbed POWER (Public Online Wireless Electronic Resource), is the result of a public/private partnership between Intel Corp.'s Intel Solution Services, Cox Communications Inc. and the state government.

POWER uses wireless nodes spotted throughout the capitol to connect to the Internet through a fiber-optic network that Cox has laid throughout the Phoenix and Tucson area, including the state capitol.

Cox contributed just over $109,000 to get the project up and running, including the cost of the hardware and five years of Internet access. Intel spent another $58,000.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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