California parks to offer Wi-Fi

| Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Telecommunications giant SBC will help the California state park system to offer Wi-Fi high-speed wireless Internet access in all of the state’s parks.

The company said the first state park to offer the service would be San Elijo State Beach near San Diego. Over the next six months, 84 other California state parks will offer SBC FreedomLink service; the system will constitute the largest grouping of so-called “hot spots” – or Wi-Fi deployment – in any public park system nationwide.

The service is frequently available at truck stops, although many are trying to find a new way to offer the service after Truckstop.net, one of the largest truck stop Wi-Fi providers, recently stopped service over a dispute with Sprint, one of SBC’s competitors.

Flying J’s Wi-Fi service is still operating at all of that company’s locations.

The SBC Wi-Fi network includes more than 6,000 hot spots nationwide.

The wireless service costs less than $20 a month, though customers who also use the company’s DSL service can access the Wi-Fi network for less than $2 a month. Park visitors can use the system on a one-time basis for less than $8 a day.

Several other states have offered Wi-Fi at rest areas, including Iowa and Texas. Those services are typically free of charge.

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