Bristol planning major extension to wi-fi project


The fine city of Bristol has selected Cityspace as a preferred partner in its plans to extend its wireless broadband network.

The network was originally piloted in 2004, and the extension will cover key business areas, transport routes, and several disadvantaged communities. It is expected to become the largest network of its kind in the UK.

The existing 3km network has proven successful in its aim to provide the diverse community of Bristol with free access to council information and the internet and today attracts over 15,000 users a month.

The extension plans to make it easier for council services to operate, such as providing mobile communications and reporting for council service teams such as parking attendants, food hygiene and trading standards inspectors, surveyors and engineers. Mobile CCTV is another application, as is improving the city’s growing network of real time passenger transport information services.

The specification for the network will be based on the very latest BelAir Networks
suite, which is fully compatible with the existing network and interoperable with
future WIMAX frequencies. The network is made up of 4 radio nodes mounted on streetlights and/or buildings. The 4-radio architecture allows Cityspace to create a blanket of 802.11b/g 56Mbps access across the city with relatively few fixed egress points.

Work is taking place now and testing should begin in March next year.

“A high quality, citywide wi-fi network is critical to the economic success of the city and its wider city region,” says Councillor Barbara Janke, Leader of Bristol City Council. “It can help us improve council services, enable local businesses to become even more competitive and remove some of the obstacles that stop people in disadvantaged communities accessing the information and services they need. This new extension to our existing city centre network will be built on a solid and proven framework and can help us develop real, valuable applications that will make a difference to the people of Bristol.”

Related stories: GNER brings Wi-Fi to all its trains | Impressive UK WiMax trials continue | Milton Keynes soon to get WiMax – first in UK? | More Wi-Fi…

Andy Merrett
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