City of Rio Rancho Brings Free High Speed Internet Access to the Entire Community

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Free 100kbps city-wide Wi-Fi access immediately available to some 70,000 residents and visitors.

The city of Rio Rancho announced today that it has reached an agreement with municipal Wi-Fi operator Azulstar, Inc. to immediately offer free High-Speed Wi-Fi Internet access. The service will be provided over the year-old city-wide Wi-Fi network, which blankets some 45 square miles of the city, reaching some 70,000 residents and visitors.

Users of the free service can connect at 100kbps for up to 10 hours/month and will receive an email address. Any resident and visitor need only connect to the ‘Azulstar’ Wi-Fi signal and signup to immediately begin using the Internet. Local advertisements will be used to support the service; higher speeds and Voice over IP are available as premium services.

According to newly elected City of Rio Rancho mayor Kevin Jackson, “We are the City of Vision and broadband access is fundamental to ensure we have the skills to achieve this vision. Today we have officially bridge the digital divide by bringing high speed Internet access to every person living in or visiting our community.”

The free service operates using Rio Rancho’s year old municipal Wi-Fi network. The network is one of the world’s largest municipal Wi-Fi networks, and the first to fully support Voice over IP. Built for the city by wireless services firm Azulstar Networks, the Rio Rancho metro network uses some 600 Wi-Fi and WiMAX class radios to provide “laptop ready” mobile Wi-Fi access across more than 45 square miles. The network already provides fixed and mobile public Internet access, low cost Voice over IP, traffic signal coordination, video surveillance as well as connectivity for education and other city services.    

Tyler van Houwelingen, CEO and founder of Azulstar added, “Municipal Wi-Fi networks are successfully enhancing communities in many ways. Free public Internet access will clearly be a key piece in the rollout of these networks worldwide. We hope to quickly see high speed wireless Internet as widely deployed as electricity. May dial-up Internet finally rest in peace.”

Under the new agreement, Azulstar will fund and operate the free service in return for exception from profit sharing with the city. As part of the free service, Azulstar plans the rollout of a separate Wi-Fi network across the city for children, called Azulstar-kids; which will provide a safe, content filtered environment. Over the next few months, Azulstar expects to introduce free Internet access, as well as Azulstar-kids, within its other metro Wi-Fi networks in other states.

About Azulstar

Azulstar Inc., based in Grand Haven, Mich., was formed to enable the rapid rollout of mobile Wi-Fi/WiMAX networks and services throughout the world and is recognized as a leader in metro Wi-Fi. Azulstar leverages a proprietary combination of licensed and unlicensed wireless technologies to serve the needs of an entire community. Azulstar teams with governmental agencies, leading companies and investors to quickly offer digital community wireless networks and services, including mobile voice, data, video, public safety and smart transportation.

WiMAX is a registered trademark of the WiMAX Forum. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Ken Gaebler
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