Seattle To Make A Big Advance In Wireless Internet

Seattle To Make A Big Advance In Wireless Internet »Play Video
SEATTLE - Our area is known for being in tune with technology, and it's about to make another big advance.

Three companies are teaming up to beam high-powered wireless Internet signals across Seattle.

Some people are calling it "Wi-Fi on steroids." Eventually this will be huge for people who use laptops, giving you access to the Internet almost anywhere, without having to be near one of those hot spots at, say, a coffee house or on a ferry boat.

But that's probably a year away. Right now, this new technology will be available to businesses.

Bruce Chatterley, president and CEO of Speakeasy, bravely walked out onto the halo of the Space Needle Wednesday morning to announce the largest deployment of WiMax of its kind in North America.

Antennas and radio equipment are being installed 605 feet up at the top of the Space Needle and in four other spots around the city. It'll beam wireless Internet signals over a 5-mile square mile area of Seattle.

Chatterley says it'll be cheaper and much faster than the 1.5-megabit, T-1 service many businesses currently use.

"(Now), when you go above that speed, it's going to run about $6,000 a month," Chatterley said once he was back inside on firm ground. "What we're introducing today is the delivery of a 6 megabit --versus 1.5 -- data communications solution available for right around $800 a month. (That's) versus the 1.5 (megabit) solution that goes for about $500 a month."

To put things in perspective, Speakeasy says this new technology is more than 60 times faster than dial-up service.

Eventually, it'll give all of us much broader access to the Internet.