Coming soon to an urban center near you: wireless connectivity for your laptop or PDA, brought to you by City Hall. At least that's the hot trend among U.S. municipalities, 48 of which now offer wireless access, according to a recent report. Most municipal systems are the result of public-private partnerships, and many offer some level of free access. The first website (1) is an overview of the wireless downtown phenomenon which notes the importance of such systems for local economic development. The second link (2) is to a fact sheet about Wireless Philadelphia, which, as one of the first and largest downtown wi-fi projects, helped spark the national trend. The third website is a node map of NYCwireless (3) and the 147 access points where that municipal network currently can be accessed. The fourth link leads to a case study of chaska.net (4) , which provides wireless access to the 7,500 homes and 18,000 residents of that Minneapolis suburb. The fifth website is a pdf (5) of a slick brochure produced by the city of Gainesville, Fla., to promote its Digital Downtown project. The sixth link is to a Sacramento Bee editorial (6) making the case for downtown wireless. The seventh website is a free database listing 10,840 wireless access points in 767 locations worldwide (7) , organized by geographic region.


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