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Cerritos City Council
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CA 90703
Tel: +1 562 860-0311
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This archived article was published 11 December 2003
Cerritos first US city to offer
wireless internet access to all
By Josh Fecht

Cerritos, a small community in southern California, will be the first city in the US to offer all its citizens wireless internet (Wi-Fi) access. Until now the town's 51,000 inhabitants had to be content with slow internet access via 56k modems. Broadband has not been not on offer because the city is too far from the telephone company’s main exchange and internet access via cable had been ruled out for economic reasons.

Responding to demands from residents to find a way to bring broadband to Cerritos, the city administration under Mayor Gloria Kappe struck a deal with Wireless operator Aiirnet Wireless to place wireless networking transmitters on public buildings, traffic lights and other public structures.

Aiirnet Wireless describes the project to be the largest wireless network in the US. The Wi-Fi alliance, an organisation that promotes and certifies the technology, added that Cerritos is the only US city so far that intends to establish citywide wireless internet access.

WiFi technology allows any computer, even laptops, within 100 metres of a transmitter to have high-speed access to the internet. While some hotels and airports have installed Wi-Fi transmitters to allow business people internet access, the technology has not yet been tested over a large area.

In November 2003 a conference entitled ‘The Wireless Internet and Municipal Government Summit’ was held in Atlanta, Georgia. The Boston-based think tank the Wireless Internet Institute selected the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Community Technology to co-host the conference. The organisers told City Mayors that technological developments were making rapid progress, and experiments around the world were 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.

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