Tempe plans Wi-Fi

Tempe's Wi-FI RFP

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Officials in Tempe, Ariz., expect to release a request for proposals by the end of this week for a citywide wireless network that they hope will be in place by the middle of this year.

The RFP release follows the dedication of a free Wi-Fi service in downtown Tempe earlier this week. The joint venture between the city and Arizona State University was established to attract new residents and businesses to the area.

The citywide network, which will be offered to most users for a fee, is a parallel effort to the downtown wireless project, said David Heck, assistant chief information officer for Tempe.

One attraction for a potential service provider is that a large part of the infrastructure needed for the network is already in place, he said. The city was an early subscriber to Metricom's Ricochet wireless service, which folded several years ago.

"We already have the power plugs on the light poles available from when the Ricochet system was put up," Heck said. "For a new service provider it will, for the most part, just be a case of taking the old antenna down and putting a new one up."

City officials hope to get wireless service for free for government use by bartering for the rental fees that would otherwise be due for use of the light poles, he said.

The RFP will probably be available for about 30 days, and the network should be running within 180 days of when officials award a contract, Heck said.

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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