Minneapolis Wi-Fi is Completed

The $20 million Minneapolis wireless Internet network has been completed. The city’s next step: getting the police and fire departments using it in 2010.

The wireless network’s construction suffered from delays caused by a variety of issues, including tree leaves that blocked radio waves, a shortage of city light poles with the strength and electrical connections to accommodate Wi-Fi gear and jurisdictional issues between the city and the Minneapolis Park Board.

It provides coverage to 95 percent of the city’s 59.5 square miles, and that an individual customer with a special wireless modem can download at a speed of at least 1 million bits per second. It now has 16,500 private subscribers. The company hopes to have 30,000 individual customers in three years, as well as to support growing city use of the network.

The Minneapolis police and fire switch will affect only data communications, criminal records and license plate information for example. Police and fire vehicles will still have voice communications using standard radio equipment.

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