Calif. city gets free Wi-Fi via high tech meters

Mar 27, 2013 by Martha Mendoza

The city of Santa Clara is flipping on a big Internet switch this week, becoming what it says is the first in the country to use wireless, digital "smart meters" on homes as channels for free citywide outdoor Wi-Fi.

Power is replacing Santa Clara's electric meters to eliminate door-by-door meter readers. The new meters send electricity and water usage reports via wireless network, but also have an unusual separate channel that provides free, outdoor Internet.

Many communities already have pockets or limited free Wi-Fi, often provided by or centered around public hotspots like parks, hospitals or libraries.

Sascha Meinrath, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Open Technology Institute, said using meters as Internet channels is "really smart" but warned that strong privacy protections must be installed as well.

Explore further: San Francisco expands free public Wi-Fi access

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Verizon gives free Wi-Fi to Internet customers

Jul 27, 2009

(AP) -- Verizon is giving some of its home broadband customers free access to thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots in airports and other public places, taking a page from competitors that already offer wireless Internet access.

Google, Boingo offer New York free summer Wi-Fi

Jun 25, 2012

Google and wireless Internet group Boingo said Monday they would offer free Wi-Fi access over the summer months in many parts of New York City, including some busy subway stations.

British town to offer free wi-fi to all residents

Nov 17, 2009

Swindon has become the first place in Britain to offer free wireless Internet access to all its 186,000 residents, in what is thought to be the first such scheme, officials said on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Five questions, answers on 'net neutrality'

Sep 29, 2014

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering whether Internet providers should be allowed to cut deals with online services like Netflix, Amazon or YouTube to move their content faster.

Europe Union OKs constant chatting on flights

Sep 26, 2014

(AP)—European skies may soon be alive with the sound of small talk with new safety guidance allowing the use of all portable electronics, including cell phones, at any time during flights.

User comments : 0