Pittsburgh downtown to get limited free Wi-Fi access

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Pittsburgh (PA) - Following cities such as San Francisco and New Orleans, Pittsburgh downtown will also offer a free Wi-Fi network to computer users. However, free access will not only be limited in speed, but also to maximum of two hours per day. Higher bandwidths are available through paid service plans.

City officials have chosen U.S. Wireless Online to install and operate the network, which apparently will be offering a similar service that has recently has been outlined by Google and Earthlink in San Francisco and New Orleans. U.S. Wireless Online will be providing Wi-Fi access in Pittsburgh's Central Business District/Golden Triangle, North Shore and the Lower Hill District.

Free Wi-Fi access is available, but is time-limited to up to two hours each day; the connection speed will be slower the paid version, but is promised to be at least 512 kb/s. For $8, users can access the service for a whole day at 1 Mb/s and "benefit" from a connection that is secured by encryption protocols, U.S. Wireless Online said. There are also monthly ($15) and annual ($120) subscription plans.

Google and Earthlink announced in April of this year that they will be offering ad-supported wireless Internet access in San Francisco with a connection speed of 300 kb/s. Earthlink recently launched a fee-based municipal Wi-Fi network in Anaheim, Calif., that can be accessed for $4 per hour. A $16 3-day pass, a $21 monthly subscription and a business-class service with "speeds comparable to existing T-1 solutions" are offered as well.

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