Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Wireless Washtenaw aims for countywide access by 2007

20. January 2005 • Murph
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Business Direct reports that Wireless Washtenaw, a group that hopes to provide wireless high-speed internet access to all of Washtenaw County, has gained high profile supporters and is hoping to begin a pilot program next year with full rollout in 2007.

Wireless Washtenaw is early in its development, or what Washtenaw County IT Director David Behen described as its “visioning” stage. He was scheduled to outline the program to the county Board of Commissioners at a Jan. 20 work session.

There are several reasons public wireless systems are taking hold: wireless technology is widely available, it is dropping in price and it is improving constantly.

Municipalities also are growing tired of waiting for cable television or telecommunications companies to serve rural areas, and many municipalities are looking for ways to save money through applications such as automated reading of water meters and more-efficient communications.

Widespread broadband availability also is regarded as an economic development issue because the perception is growing that high-speed Internet access needs to be as available as utilities such as water and electricity, said Washtenaw Development Council President Susan Lackey.