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Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

Wi-Fi envy

A friend of mine and I have discussed at length the possibilities for a good, city-wide free wireless network. It seems it would be a lot cheaper than some of the other things we try to do to draw folks into town, either as residents or tourists [see also: Knoxville Convention Center version 2.0], and it could easily be a way of introducing the city to a visitor. T-Mobile hotspots require registration (and a fee) before using one of their locations. Why couldn't Knoxville's wireless network do that too?

Anyway, I saw what Austin, TX is doing (registration req'd), and it started me thinking again.
The City of Austin and the Downtown Austin Alliance kick off a new free wireless Internet program in downtown parks today.

From noon to 1:30 p.m. in Republic Square park, there will be a free seminar on how to go wireless. The park is at the northeast corner of Fourth and San Antonio streets.

The city and the alliance have outfitted Republic Square and Auditorium Shores with free wireless hookups, and will do the same later this year at Brush Square and Wooldridge Square.
The preliminary plans for the new downtown library include some amount of wireless access, but that's barely a start. There are already several privately-owned and "open" networks around town (Mellow Mushroom, Downtown Grill & Brewery, Golden Roast), but a municipally-susidized version would be a really nice step forward for the city.
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