Cerritos Wireless Mesh
Annie Hylton, Public Information Manager, City of Cerritos, and John Griebling, CTO, Aiirmesh Communications, had been invited to present an overview of the wireless mesh that Aiirmesh Communications is in the process of creating in the City of Cerritos, CA. The system is expected to be fully functional by the beginning of March 2004.
Annie Hylton informed the TWG that although 88% of the households in Cerritos have PCs, 30% cannot obtain DSL service from the phone company, and the cable company has been unwilling to upgrade its service to provide Internet access via cable modem. Consequently, when Aiirnet (now Aiirmesh Communications) approached the City about setting up a privately owned subscription wireless service that would cover the whole City, the City of Cerritos was very receptive. The City does not charge a franchise fee and has permitted Aiirmesh to place its radios on City property such as traffic signals and light poles free of charge. Southern California Edison's pole charges are high enough to make the system unprofitable. Aiirmesh's contract with the City of Cerritos is nonexclusive.
John Griebling formerly worked with Metricom on its Richocet wireless technology. The system that has been installed in Cerritos to cover the whole city with a wireless mesh is based on WiFi 802.11b technology. The infrastructure is funded and operated by Aiirmesh. Approximately 20 radios have been installed per square mile. Infrastructure costs are approximately $70,000 per square mile. These costs are likely to decrease with time as the cost of equipment decreases. Data rates are similar to cable modem service. The system is scalable in that as the number of subscribers and usage increase, the density of the infrastructure can be increased to service the increased demand in the areas that require it. The system is operated from Aiirmesh's operations center in Denver.
The City of Cerritos initially purchased 60 subscriptions at the rate of $34.95 per month. 130 other pre-subscriptions had been signed at the time of this presentation. In-home service costs $29.95 per month for a one-year contract and includes service anywhere in town for subscribers with laptops.
The City expects public safety and field personnel to be the main beneficiaries of the system. Aiirmesh has developed a roaming service in which network contact is maintained at speeds of less than 30 mph. This speed limit is expected to increase to 60 mph in the near future. As a result it is possible to create a roaming VPN for police.
Cerritos has found the promotional aspects of WiFi to be very high. The media and many companies have contacted the City to learn about the wireless system. Aiirmesh is willing to sell services to a city affiliate, ISP, entrepreneur, city utility, etc., that wants to use the wireless service to promote its business. It is possible for businesses to set up indoor networks that link to the mesh. Access to the network can then be obtained through the use of prepaid subscription cards that can be paid for or used free of charge by business customers on the premises. For educational institutions it is possible to create a VPN that feeds through the school system for content monitoring. The system will support push technology and applications.
Jennifer Phillips informed the TWG that budget requests for funding projects were required by March 1, 2004. Chair Burtner will contact Helen Hall regarding the submission of a proposal pertaining to a pilot project for wireless infrastructure in downtown Fullerton. At an earlier meeting of Paul Stover, Helen Hall and Roger Burtner with Gary Chalupsky, it was determined that it would be reasonable to request up to $50,000 of redevelopment funds for such a project. Paul Stover and Roger Burtner also met with Mike Ritto to enlist the support of downtown businesses for such a project.