The Web’s free and wireless in Hood River, reports the Oregonian.
Embarq, which was the local phone division of Sprint Nextel until it was spun off last week, has built a free Wi-Fi network covering Hood River’s three square miles. The newly independent company is experimenting with wireless Internet access and has made Hood River its second test site. The first one went online in Henderson, Nev., in March.
For the next 90 days, Embarq said Friday, it will test the network’s capabilities and explore ways to make it operate profitably. At the end of that time, the company hopes to sell or lease the network to the city of Hood River.
Talks about transferring the network to the city are going well, according to Embarq, but the parties aren’t talking dollars and cents yet.
Several small Oregon cities, including Sandy, Sherwood and Hermiston, have wireless networks, and Portland has contracted to build a free Wi-Fi system covering 134 square miles. If the Portland City Council approves the privately funded project next month, construction of that network could start this summer.
The Henderson network is using BelAir mesh gear. The Hood River service is currently available City Hall, local parks, the port and downtown. The launch will be celebrated June 2. There are several other Wi-Fi Hotspots in the region as well as an optical fiber loop laid down by the city.
Embarq has approximately 20,000 employees and operates in 18 states offering local and long distance voice, data, high speed internet, wireless, and entertainment services.