Downtown Lansing to get wireless Internet

edited July 2007 in Lansing
This looks to only be a test, but it's great to see Lansing developing like this. I hope they'll eventually be able to offer even faster speeds.

Downtown Lansing to get wireless Internet

Company officials say service will be fastest in area

July 24, 2007

Jeremy W. Steele
Lansing State Journal

Lansing-based is building a wireless Internet system around downtown and Old Town that company officials expect to rival other telephone and cable broadband services.

The system uses new technology is testing for its manufacturer, President Kevin Schoen said. He declined to name the company.

The telecommunications company expects to expand the network around downtown and Old Town and along Michigan Avenue toward Lansing's east side. It won't be the area's first wireless system, but the network is expected to be the fastest.

"In the long-term plans, we're looking to be a significant metropolitan wireless provider," Schoen said. "But initially, we want to get a lot of people to use it so we can help test this stuff out."

To do that, will open the network to free use for a few months, he said.

If the trial is successful, the company will begin charging users $9.95 to $24.95 a month, depending on connection speed, Schoen said.

The system should offer speeds of 5 to 9 megabits per second, he said. Cable and DSL (digital subscriber line) broadband, such as services offered by AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., generally offer speeds of up to 6 megabits.

That should be fast enough to easily download large files, such as music or movies.

City officials say the network eventually could support services for police, firefighters and other first responders. For example, building plans could be sent to firefighters on their way to a blaze.

Other city workers, such as code enforcement officers, also could use it to access city databases or transmit information back to the office.

"We are looking forward to test-driving the system," said Randy Hannan, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Virg Bernero.

A few other cities are experimenting with similar technology, but few are capital cities of Lansing's size, said Thomas Muth, a professor in Michigan State University's Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media. Muth studies how new technologies are adopted.

"The most important thing is the opportunity for new ideas and business enterprises to develop that rely on this type of service," he said. "Every one of the services like this we add just makes the Lansing area far more rich in (technology) facilities."

The network could make Lansing a model for major telecommunications companies interested in rolling out their own wireless networks, officials said.

Schoen said he chose downtown Lansing to test the system because it's the most challenging area to serve. The large masonry buildings block many wireless signals, yet the area has a large base of potential users, including college students, government workers and other professionals.

Contact Jeremy W. Steele at 377-1015 or


  • The pricing, combined with that blazing speed, is incredible! They're developing the same thing in Oakland County where I'm at for the summer (Wireless Oakland is the project name). The D/L speed will only top out at 3 mb/s, and the County is prepared to charge any willing subscriber $40 a month at that speed. To offer 5-9 mb/s at $25 would be an awesome deal that could encourage young professionals in the area to consider Lansing as a place to settle, while also giving current residents affordable broadband.
  • This sounds like it will be great for downtown and Old Town, although I don't spend enough time downtown to justify paying for internet with all the hotspots. If I move in the downtown area, I'm sure I will appreciate this deal.
  • This is nice to hear. Thanks for investing in Lansing!
  • Ooh! Me next please! SE Lansing/Western EL. :-)
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