Local authority sets up solar powered Wi-Fi network

A solar-powered Wi-Fi network with 400 access points is being set up by a local authority in the US.

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A solar-powered Wi-Fi network with 400 access points is being set up by a local authority in the US.

St Louis Park, a town of 44,000 people near Minneapolis, Minnesota, will get wireless internet access across an area of 10 square miles through the council’s ParkWiFi initiative.

Each Wi-Fi access point will have a battery to supply power and a solar panel to keep the battery charged, according to Arinc, the contractor on the project. Fibre-optic cable will tie the access points into a network.

Clint Pires, chief information officer for St Louis Park, said his town was the first in the US to combine Wi-Fi and solar panels so widely. "Our decision to use solar power reflects the city's philosophy of environmental stewardship, but we also expect to save $40,000 (£20,000) to $50,000 (£25,000) each year by using solar power instead of electric utility connections.”

The local authority will own the network. It intends to recoup the costs by charging local businesses and residents for wireless broadband services over the network.

The network is expected to be start running in October,

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