Friday, August 19, 2005 | 08/19/2005 | Intel helps cities set up WiFi nets

Intel helps cities set up WiFi nets
By Jessie Seyfer
Mercury News

Intel has been lending a hand to communities across the globe to help them develop citywide wireless Internet systems, the company said Thursday.

The first such projects to come to fruition have followed a more modest model than some, focused on streamlining government functions rather than citywide universal access for residents.

The Santa Clara chip maker highlighted three cities Thursday in particular -- Taipei, Taiwan; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Cleveland -- where wireless Internet systems, or WiFi, have become a community reality in a tangible way.

In Taipei, wireless technology has helped the city's 400-some agencies communicate paperlessly, and to provide real-time information about parking and traffic. In Corpus Christi, wireless Internet devices are helping building inspectors search structures' histories in the field and are tracking city vehicle fleets. In Cleveland, emergency responders can send live video of an incident to colleagues, so everyone can respond to it in a more informed way.

Bay Area companies, including Accela Communications of Dublin and Pronto Networks of Pleasanton, worked with Intel on the projects, which Intel has dubbed its Digital Communities Initiative.

Intel is helping 13 cities across the world develop community WiFi projects, and the company intends to lend its system design and technology expertise to many more. Company representatives said municipal WiFi projects will be a boon for Intel, which supplies processors for 80 percent of the world's computers, and for the entire field of technology. Intel processors are used in myriad wireless products.

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