And the mayor said, let there be broadband

Grand Haven, Mich. gets Wi-Fi in every corner of the city.

The town of Grand Haven, Mich. (pop. 12,000) has turned on a Wi-Fi service that reaches everywhere in the city. Residents can sign up for broadband service for $20 a month, care of local service provider Ottawa Wireless. It's a slow version of broadband – 256 kpbs downloads for the $20 service – but it's universally available, which isn't a bad thing. It's certainly a good for putting competitive pressure on the local cable company and telco.

A few other cities in the U.S. are doing the same thing, using Wi-Fi and repeaters that can send the short-range signals bouncing across a series of antennae. It's probably a short-term solution, until longer-range WiMax technology begins hitting markets in 2006.

My business plan for San Francisco involves strapping wireless repeaters to pigeons' heads. We're guaranteed universal coverage.

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    John Borland
    covers the intersection of digital entertainment and broadband.

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