Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 4, 2010 04:00 PM
Twenty-five years after the FCC approved unlicensed access to radio spectrum, Wi-Fi has come of age. Nowhere is that more evident, perhaps, than in New York. First came hot-spots in Times Square, then wireless and Wi-Fi in New York City subways. Now, it’s available in the comfort of a NYC limo.
GroundLink just launched a free Wi-Fi service for LimoRes.com, UTOG Corporate Car Service Inc. and Velocity Limo Inc., that can be shared by a maximum of sixteen subscribers per hot spot. LimoRes riders can also access free 110V outlets and 12 power connectors outfitted to accommodate iPhone, USB and most cell phone models.
The New York entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Alex Mashinsky, founder of GroundLink and LimoRes, said the goal "is to basically blanket the city with tens of thousands of vehicles."
The joint venture’s goal is to equip 1,000 limos and town cars with Wi-Fi by early fall and expand aggressively after that. Limos will become roaming wireless web transmitters.
The expectation is that next-generation wireless-web technology will solve the current problem of switching from tower-to-tower en route. Mashinsky’s vision is to literally turn New York City and environs into an "always-on, always connected city both above the ground (with GroundLink) and below ground (with Transit Wireless)."
"It has an excellent shot at expanding coverage. It's very clever," commented Richard Doherty, founder Envisioneering Group.
The next challenge will be to outfit New York's yellow taxi fleet with Internet – a more difficult task given tight regulation by the Taxi and Limousine Commission which imposes a rigorous TLC testing and approval process.
“We want to move NY from the dead-last to the fore-front of always-connected cities in the world by bringing free Wi-Fi to residences everywhere. And we will do it very creatively not by installing more antennas, which are not good for environment, but by putting Wi-Fi devices in thousands of cars that are already on the road,” said Mashinksy.
No stone left unturned…no spot left unwired?