Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Wireless Washtenaw Planned

29. March 2005 • Scott Trudeau
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Washtenaw County appears to be poised to follow in the footsteps of other municipalities (like Philadelphia) and pursue County-wide wireless Internet access:

County officials and other advocates outlined an aggressive timetable to roll out a wireless Internet, or Wi-Fi, network to blanket the region. Tentative plans include opening up the project for vendor bids as early as May, selecting technology providers by July and establishing three pilot programs by November. Dubbed “Wireless Washtenaw,” the initiative aims to build the countywide network by late 2007, allowing anyone with a wireless-enabled computer or handheld device to log onto the Internet for free in certain zones, or from their home or office for a still-undetermined monthly fee.

The county is following the lead of communities in other states that are building wireless networks as a way to attract and retain businesses, bring broadband Internet to rural or under-served urban areas, and help bridge the divide between the digital haves and have-nots.

> via Ann Arbor News: Wireless initiative touted

  1. The Snooze has a big story on Wireless Washtenaw today:

    I’m willing to bet there’s a big disconnect between people’s expectations of “free unlimited fast wifi” and what will be ultimately delivered.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Mar. 14 '06 - 10:28AM    #
  2. and i’ll bet ultimately is the key concept in its delivery.

       —peter honeyman    Mar. 15 '06 - 11:11AM    #
  3. So the Wireless Washtenaw network is up, at least in alpha test mode in part in downtown Ann Arbor. Reports at lunch said they had way too many applicants for alpha testers. Is anyone actually using the network yet? I see the network from a couple of downtown locations, and you can get to a few sites from their restricted interface, but it’s not in general availability yet.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Jan. 12 '07 - 11:31PM    #
  4. Actually, they are still looking for pilot participants for Ann Arbor. This was posted on their web site on January 3 and went around in an e-mail last week. So if you want to be part of the downtown Ann Arbor pilot, please contact them. The pilot has actually been going since the beginning of December. Looks like they are still looking for over 300 participants for the downtown area. The link is here.

       —Juliew    Jan. 13 '07 - 12:01AM    #
  5. The Wireless Washtenaw homepage has a wealth of information on the project.

    In essence, public bodies across the county have come together to leverage and organize our physical resources to provide a tremendous benefit to the public.

    The bones of the service will be a completely free and unlimited wi-fi network across the entire county. This access will be limited to speeds comparable to 56K modem access. Our partners in the private sector, led by 20/20 Communications, will make their money by selling a premium high speed service with speeds comparable to other high speed providers in the marketplace. The service will be available in every nook and cranny of the county and 20/20 Communcations has contractual commitments to upgrade and improve the service as wireless technology evolves (20/20 is working with Siemens technology).

    Recently, the Steering Committee for Wireless Washtenaw reported that the pilot project has been progressing successfully and that group has authorized 20/20 Communications to move forward with implementation. More exciting new is to come as this exciting service rolls out across the county.

       —Jeff Irwin    Jan. 24 '07 - 09:11PM    #
  6. I live in Sharon Township, just north of Manchester. Can you give me any information or a target date regarding wireless in my area?

    Thank you,
    T. Sitek

       —T Sitek    May. 19 '07 - 04:18AM    #
  7. 20/20 Communications has a registration form on their website that residents can use to request notification once service is up in their area. This can be accessed by going to and selecting the “Register for Wireless Washtenaw” icon on the right. You can also contact them directly at (734) 973-2020, then Option #3 for Wireless Service with any specific questions regarding service. I hope this helps!

       —Jason Kalmbach    May. 22 '07 - 07:19PM    #