Blanket Wi-Fi access planned in Paris

— 3:46 PM on July 5, 2006

Paris may become the world's "most connected capital city" as early as next year, if mayor Bertrand Delanoë has his wish. Yesterday, Delanoë announced plans to set up wireless internet coverage across the entire city by the end of 2007. Paris will be outfitted with 400 free Wi-Fi hot spots that will be set up by private ISPs on public property, such as parks, squares, and libraries. Along with wireless access, Delanoë also announced plans to boost Paris' fiber-optic coverage to 80% of all buildings by 2010, thanks in part to juicy tax cuts for companies that lay down fiber-optic lines.

Inspiration for these plans is derived largely from a partnership with the city of San Francisco. Back in April, Delanoë and San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom signed a "digital sister cities" pact to boost technology development. San Francisco city officials are also working to bring blanket Wi-Fi coverage to the city, with Google and Earthlink due to begin work on the project "by early next year," according to Yahoo News.

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