Initiative Enables Inter-City Roaming and Brings Innovative Services to Municipalities Nationwide
The W2i Digital Cities Convention – San Francisco, CA – Oct 11, 2005 – Pronto Networks, a leading provider of carrier-class operations support systems (OSS) for managing large-scale WiFi hot spot and Metro scale networks, today announced a $15 million investment in products and services for the launch of UniFi™ Digital Communities Grid, a nationwide municipal broadband network that connects people from city to city and serves as a platform for both emergency and community based services. Many municipalities and ecosystem partners are part of the initial launch.
The UniFi Digital Communities Grid is based on an open, standards-based architecture that allows city employees and residents to roam onto other participating municipal networks using existing user credentials. It also serves as a platform for introducing services – such as homeland security and Amber alerts, automated meter reading (AMR), traffic and pedestrian control, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications for water and wastewater treatment, and video surveillance – that will help streamline city operations and will expand and improve services for municipal governments, businesses and citizens.
In an effort to foster cooperation among cities, municipalities have agreed to allow reciprocal access to all government workers from participating communities. For non-government workers, cities have the option to charge for access to generate additional revenue or may allow visitors to roam for free on their network as a way to promote tourism. Cities may also generate revenue by offering wholesale access to Virtual Network Operators (VNOs).
“The UniFi Digital Communities Grid meets a need in the marketplace to connect communities that have recently deployed or planning to deploy large, broadband wireless networks,” said Reed Hundt, former FCC Chairman. “This initiative is critical to foster cooperation among communities and will boost the productivity of municipal field workers who frequently travel to neighboring cities. It will also significantly improve city services and reduce the cost of government as new applications, such as homeland security alerts, are introduced.”
Participating cities in the initial launch include Camden County, NJ (consisting of 37 municipalities); Corpus Christi, TX; Daytona Beach, FL; Marietta, OH, Nantucket, MA; Fire Island, NY and Central California Broadband project that aims to connect most of the cities in the central California region. Pronto has committed up to $15 million in products and services to connect up to 500 municipalities to the Grid over the next 18 months.
“Given the recent pace at which municipalities are setting up broadband wireless networks, this initiative could not be more timely”, said Leonard Scott, MIS Unit Manager of Corpus Christi, TX. “We’re excited to be one of the charter cities of this initiative and look forward to belonging to a nationwide, municipal broadband network and leveraging new wireless applications that will enhance our city operations and improve citizen services.”
The UniFi Digital Communities Grid initiative is built on an ecosystem of technology partners that bring innovative applications to participating municipalities that enhance public safety, improve employee productivity, and provide new services to citizens. Initial technology partners in this initiative include Cellnet (www.cellnet.com), providing AMR and SCADA solutions; Cross Current (www.crosscurrent.com), supplying public safety and computer aided dispatch and Lexis, providing wireless parking management systems and equipment. .
“The city of the future is one that will have most remote public services automated and managed from a central location,” said Mike Zito, CEO of Cellnet. “We’re pleased to be part of this forward-
thinking initiative and are looking forward to helping cities achieve greater operational efficiencies by implementing wireless AMR and SCADA solutions.”
The UniFi Digital Communities Grid is compliant with the IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) framework, providing a foundation for city operators to deploy rich, IP-based multimedia services, such as integrated voice, data, video calling, IPTV and multi-player gaming. The Grid will also be enabled for advanced SMS services, such as allowing subscribers to pay for and gain access to the Internet by sending an SMS text message to the 80211 short code.
“This initiative is important in bringing a common architecture for a national municipal broadband network that can deliver integrated telecommunication services,” said Jasbir Singh, president and CEO of Pronto Networks. “We’re honored to be working with these initial charter Communities and ecosystem technology partners, and to be investing our own resources, in developing the digital community fabric of the future.”
About Pronto Networks
Pronto Networks, based in Pleasanton, Calif., provides carrier-class Operations Support Systems (OSS) that enables network operators to deploy and manage large public hot spot and metro scale networks. The company’s software handles provisioning, configuration, authentication, access control, security, pre-paid and post-paid billing, and roaming settlement for large public WLAN networks, in addition to remotely managing and updating multi-vendor hardware and WiFi switches. Pronto Networks is funded by BV Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the Intel Communications Fund. Pronto Networks was recently named to the AlwaysOn List of Top 100 Private Companies for the third consecutive year, and in 2003 received Wired Magazine’s Top 25 Wi-Fi Companies to Watch and Computerworld’s Innovative Technology Awards. For more information about Pronto Networks, visit www.prontonetworks.com
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Kristie Heins Fox for Pronto Networks