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Feb. 8: Engineering Students Tapped To Help City Develop Broadband Wireless Strategy


Chriss Swaney

Carnegie Mellon Engineering Students Tapped
To Help City Develop Broadband Wireless Strategy    

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Jon Peha and a handful of students from the Engineering and Public Policy Department will present a report at 1:30 p.m. today (Feb. 8) in City Council Chambers of the City County Building about creating a broadband wireless strategy for Pittsburgh.     

The 163-page report was developed this semester by students to help city decision-makers better understand their options and the implications of those options when developing a sophisticated broadband wireless access network.

"The report is designed to help the city expand its current downtown coverage to the entire city through a wireless metropolitan-area network (WIMAN) based on Wi-Fi technology," said Peha, a professor of engineering and public policy and electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon.     

The report analyzes the potential results of different models of deployment. It looks at a single provider of wholesale services throughout the city and competing Internet service providers that offer retail services.     

"We investigated the extent to which these different models might be financially sustainable, serve both high-income and low-income areas of Pittsburgh, and yield competition among providers," Peha said. The report also examines the extent to which Pittsburgh government and city services might benefit from a wireless metropolitan-area network.

At present, Pittsburgh's Wi-Fi network covers a large 90-block area and provides two hours of free access daily, allowing users to surf at speeds comparable to that of a DSL modem.