March 9, 2006 By Andy Opsahl
Corpus Christi, Texas, understands the Internet's integral presence in its citizens' lives. Leonard Scott, the city's Wi-Fi project manager, leads the charge to blanket Corpus Christi with Wi-Fi connectivity, moving the city beyond its "hotspot" system, which delivered wireless access only at select spots around town.
Localities across the nation are implementing limited public Wi-Fi access in select areas or at sites. But in Corpus Christi, Wi-Fi will be everywhere.
Any resident with a Wi-Fi-ready computer can access the network from home. People living in rural areas will need a wireless range extender -- a computer attachment that picks up signals from the network's access point. But the network certainly extends beyond home.
Today's workplace frequently expands from the office, vehicle or home -- and sometimes to wherever else an employee is. Corpus Christi professionals will soon have network access for doing business in any part of the city they desire.
The project would give water and gas providers automated, real-time meter reads. It would bring law enforcement officers wireless features like secure mobile access to criminal histories, incident reports and video surveillance. Code enforcement inspectors would have onsite property research and file report information. Emergency responders would have mobile access to building and infrastructure information, and emergency health-care providers could immediately pull up medical records.
Scott is creating a prototype destined for imitation across the country as local governments immerse themselves in the expanding wireless broadband culture.
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