The wireless Internet revolution is
mounting a full-scale assault on Tempe
and closing in on the Kyrene Corridor
from both the north and east.
By February, residents of south Tempe
should be able to subscribe to Wi-Fi
It probably won’t be long after that
when Chandler residents also are offered
citywide Wi-Fi service by the same
operator that is preparing Tempe to “go
Tempe is racing to become the largest
city in the nation to offer
border-to-border wireless Internet
Much of the downtown area is ready to go
wireless. Over the next three
months, the service provider, MobilePro,
will complete its system throughout
Tempe’s 40 square miles.
The new WAZTempe subscription service
will be offered at $29.95 a month,
$19.95 per week, $7.95 for one day, or
$3.95 per hour. Daily and hourly rates
include a 95-cent setup fee, which is
waived for weekly or monthly contracts.
Free wireless Internet service is
already available throughout most of
downtown Tempe, so anyone with a
802.11B/G wireless card can connect to
Tempe officially dedicated its wireless
network on Monday, Nov. 28, in a
ceremony at Tempe Beach Park, Mill
Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway.
“Tempe is on the cutting edge here,”
said Mayor Hugh Hallman. “We are living
our commitment to make Tempe ‘The Smart
Place to Be’.”
Maryland-based MobilePro had considered
starting its wireless network in south
Tempe, but decided to concentrate its
first efforts north of Broadway Road due
to some technical considerations,
according to Dave Heck, Tempe’s
assistant chief information officer in
the Information Technology Department.
Construction of the wireless system
lagged behind schedule initially but
should pick up speed, Heck said.
MobilePro predicts wireless service will
reach southward to Elliot Road by the
end of January and the full city should
be covered by the end of February.
Chandler, meanwhile, is negotiating with
MobilePro for a system nearly identical
to the Tempe project.
“We’re still in the discussion stages.
We are following the Tempe model pretty
closely,” said Margaret Coulter,
Chandler’s communications manager.
Coulter said a proposal could be sent to
the Chandler City Council my
mid-December or early January.
Both Coulter and Chandler assistant City
Manager Pat McDermott said the city
likes the wireless companies competing
for business without any of the city’s
“We talked to several other companies
who wanted the city to be a partner, but
the city’s not interested,” Coulter
The Tempe Wi-Fi network will give local
computer users another option to connect
to the Internet rather than using
telephone or cable television lines.
Once online, Tempe residents will be
able to use the same Internet service
providers (ISPs) that they use now.
In simplest terms, the Tempe WiFi system
is an electronic “pipe” that uses a
radio frequency and streetlight-mounted
antennas to serve the same function as
telephone and cable television wires in
connecting personal computers to the
Internet, Heck said.
MobilePro’s Wi-Fi system uses hundreds
of shoebox-size antennas mounted on
streetlight poles throughout the city to
pick up and transmit signals from
residents’ personal computers, laptops,
cellphones and PDAs.
MobilePro is repaying the city for the
right to use city streetlights by
configuring its antennas to create a
second Wi-Fi system that will be
available only to the city, according to
Heck. Police, firefighters and all types
of municipal workers will be able to
communicate through this parallel
system, he said.
All Tempe police officers have been
issued personal laptop computers with
wireless capability, he noted.
As for the security of residents’
wireless computers, Heck said the
MobilePro system will be more secure
from hackers than hard-wire connections
to the Internet because MobilePro and
StrixSystems will use a
military-developed 128-bit encryption
For more information about the WAZTempe
Wi-Fi network, visit www.waztempe.com.