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8/10/2006
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Wi-Fi 'Blogmobile' Travels The Streets Of New York

The oversized van is equipped with several PCs for users to communicate with celebrities, and it's all about proving the concept of mobile Wi-Fi.

The "Blogmobile" plying the streets of New York City this week enables the public to carry on Internet conversations with celebrities while at the same time the traveling Wi-Fi hotspot is proving the concept that terrestrial IP links can deliver Web access to moving vehicles.

Using Telkonet NuVisions technology, which has created an umbrella of connectivity in parts of the city, the oversized van is equipped with several PCs for users who communicate with celebrities via blog portal www.ChatWithAStar.com.

"We're proving the concept of mobile Wi-Fi," said Frank Matarazzo, president of Telkonet's Microwave Satellite unit, in an interview Thursday. "It's cost-prohibitive today, but it won't be in the future."

In the blogmobile, a dozen PCs are connected with 20-inch and 40-inch plasma TVs, CD/DVD players, Sony PlayStation 2 players -- all with surround sound.

The firm has been deploying a network of Gigabit Ethernet-based installations that deliver a range of services including television, Internet gaming, and VoIP. Once a building is fitted with the NuVisions technology a Wi-Fi "cloud" is created around the building.

Subscribers utilize individual clouds as they move about the city. "The service 'hands-off' just like cell phone service," said Matarazzo. "We're proving a concept " that we can create citywide Wi-Fi from the rooftops of buildings."

Will the service compete with WiMAX? Matarazzo maintains that Gigabit Ethernet technology used in NuVisions is more robust than WiMAX.

A cloud was established around Columbus Circle this week and deployment of the solution was extended to cover a wide area of Central Park at the same time.

As for the blogmobile, NuVisions created the wireless backhaul and Wi-Fi connections for the ChatWithAStar.com vehicle, Matarazzo said, adding that the concept can be eventually replicated for moving vehicles in the future when costs of the technology drop.

Celebrities available for online chat range from athletes like Billy Wagner of the New York Mets and boxer Gerry Cooney to Ms. Universe Zuleyka Rivera. The celebrity interaction portal was founded by sports author Burton Rocks.

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