The Wireless Internet Institute
(A division of World Times Inc)
225 Franklin Street
26th Floor
Boston
Massachusetts 02110
USA
Tel.: +1 617 439 5400
Fax: +1 617 439 5415
Internet: www.w2i.org


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This is an archived article which was published in September 2003
Cities discussed benefits of
wireless internet technology

By Nick Swift

What may with some justification be seen as the exponential convergence of the trends comprising the revolution in communications that came within reach of the wider public with the advent of the personal computer and the internet upon the almost magical-seeming goal of the availability of that resource to anyone anywhere in the world, even without a wired connection is being effected right now by a number of groups and individuals; and, not surprisingly, mayors and municipal governments throughout those parts of the world fortunate enough to have enjoyed the earlier stages of this process are being included in the plans to educate about the benefits of wirelessness, and the challenges of achieving it.

A leader in the movement is the Wireless Internet Institute (W2i), which describes itself as an international ‘think tank’ where executives explore wireless internet technologies, best practices and sustainable implementation models. It is a World Times initiative addressing the regulatory, business and integration complexities associated with the deployment of wireless internet technologies. World Times, Inc. ‘presents fresh pluralistic perspectives on today’s pressing global issues and trends’. Since 1978, it has been bringing together native-country journalists, academics, business leaders, scientists, government representatives and NGO leaders from diverse backgrounds and geographies to probe matters of global concern from all angles. World Times’ global issues analyses appear weekly in The World Paper as a special editorial section on world affairs, printed in seven languages and carried by the World Times Network of Associated Publications on five continents. It also publishes white papers, conference proceedings, and a subscription quarterly tabloid with a free weekly electronic (email) edition.

The W2i was founded by World Times, Inc., and Daniel Aghion, its Executive Director. It brings wireless Internet stakeholders together to foster universal connectivity in support of economic, social and educational development around the world.

In June 2003 W2i joined forces with the United Nations Information and Communications Technologies (UNICT) Task Force and held a conference at the UN headquarters, ‘The WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) Opportunity for Developing Nations’, creating the conditions for informal dialogue and brainstorming among industry practitioners, government representatives and international development experts. The conference, featuring plenary sessions and structured brainstorming workshops, sought to contribute to establish strategies necessary to overcome existing obstacles and develop environments favourable to the broad deployment of WiFi infrastructures. Its conclusions will serve as a blue print for future national consensus building programs, spectrum policies reform and new infrastructure deployments. The conference was in response to Secretary-General, Kofi Annan’s challenge to the Silicon Valley Community on 5 November 2002. (www.unicttaskforce.com)

“A digital divide,” Mr. Annan said in his Message to the Conference, “threatens to exacerbate already-wide gaps between rich and poor, within and among countries. The stakes are high indeed. Timely access to news and information can promote trade, education, employment, health and wealth. One of the hallmarks of the information society – openness – is a crucial ingredient of democracy and good governance.”

The exploration of similar issues in the pursuit of similar values within the municipal government sphere is the goal of another conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia on 19 November 2003: ‘The Wireless Internet and Municipal Government Summit’. The Wireless Internet Institute has selected the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Community Technology to co-host a conference at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Technological developments are making rapid progress, and experiments around the world are fast proving that wireless internet technologies can bring a broad array of benefits to metropolitan area government, businesses and citizens at a fraction of the cost of alternative infrastructures. However, rigid spectrum policies, protective regulatory environments and lack of sustainable business models remain critical obstacles to faster and broader deployment.

The conclusions of the conference will be presented on 4-5 December 2003 at the First World Summit of Cities and Local Authorities on the Information Society in Lyon, France, as part of the World Summit on the Information Society, the UN-sponsored summit held in Geneva, Switzerland on December 10-12, 2003, and on 10-12 March 2004 at the Atlanta Mayor's Office of Community Technology Conference in Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin launched that city’s metropolitan-wide integrated wireless Internet initiative in June 2002. “Our technology infrastructure is just as important as our physical infrastructure,” said Mayor Franklin. “High speed connectivity available to our workforce is a must for us to remain a technology-friendly city.”

Introducing
Daniel Aghion
, Executive Director
, Wireless Internet Institute
Daniel Aghion has a broad background in international technology sales, business development, marketing and general management, having successively served as Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, with GlobeID, a large-scale Internet Payment Systems provider; Vice President, International IDE/Aranex, a network systems provider; Vice President, Marketing, SoftNet, an enterprise software applications vendor.

Mr Aghion spent eight years with Digital Communications Associates (DCA), a network-to-mainframe connectivity vendor, successively serving in various channel-management positions and as Director of Marketing.

Before joining DCA, Mr Aghion was the founder and Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, of Micro Connection International, a European networking product distributor. He began his career as a publisher in the business publishing field.
daghion@w2i.org