O2 Ireland Launches Public WLAN Service in Galway
O2 Ireland today launched Ireland's first public WLAN service, wireless zone, which enables business people on the move to connect to the Internet at broadband speeds (25 - 30 times the speed of a dial-up modem) at specific public locations ('hotspots'). A hotspot is now available to both O2 and non-O2 customers at the Westwood Hotel, Galway and an additional 11 sites nationwide.
Representing a EUR1.9 million investment, wireless zone will enable users to access their corporate networks, send and receive email and browse the web via their laptops, unconstrained by cables or fixed access points within the public 'hotspot'. Typical users are expected to be medium to high end Irish business customers and international business travellers.
In tandem with the commercial roll-out of wireless zone, O2 was recently selected as the only Irish mobile operator to receive funding from the Government to participate in a trial programme to deliver wireless broadband access to locations, which Government believe, may be better suited to Internet access via wireless technology than wire broadband.
There are three pricing models available: 1. Once off vouchers (1 hour or 24 hour). 2. A contract for EUR 10 / month offering one hour free access and each subsequent 20 minute session for EUR 2. 3. A subscription with no monthly fee, but each 20 minute session is charged at 3 EUR.
The service will work with any WiFi (IEEE 802.11b) certified device. Many new laptop computers already have WiFi capability built-in. Alternatively a plug-in devices can be purchased from any computer shop (typical price: EUR 70 - 100 [Feb 2003]).