Grand Rapids goes mobile citywide with new Clear 4G wireless Internet service

Deborah Johnson Wood

The city of Grand Rapids and Clearwire announced this week that years of efforts to provide mobile WiMax Internet access throughout the city has culminated in the availability of CLEAR 4G for businesses and individuals.

Grand Rapids is the first city in Michigan to have WiMax citywide, and one of the first 48 cities in the nation.

Subscribers can use the Internet at speeds four times faster than 3G using laptops, smart phones and portable gaming devices from anywhere in the city, including while on the go states a press release from Clearwire.

"If you have a laptop, you can take it with you anywhere in Grand Rapids, plunk down on a park bench or anywhere, and access the Internet – you won't have to find a specific hotspot," says Mayor George Heartwell, who put together a wireless broadband advisory committee to spearhead the project.

"We'll be able to put the service in our police cars, fire engines, and our building inspectors can use it," he says. "It will be cost neutral to the city; we'll pay to have it in our vehicles, but Clearwire pays the city for use of the towers."

The CLEAR coverage area extends as far north as 7 Mile Road, south to Route 6, east to I-96, and west to Route 11. Subscribers who want to access Internet service when traveling outside the service area can purchase a dual-mode 4G/3G modem to stay continually connected through Sprint's 3G data network.

Non-subscribers can access the service at any of a number of hotspots across the city, says Mayor Heartwell. These include neighborhood libraries and city busses.

Clearwire says subscriptions for home use start at $30 per month; mobile access starts at $40 per month. Low-income residents can get subsidized access through the city of Grand Rapids for $9.95 a month.

Click here for more information or visit The CLEAR Blog.

Source: Grand Rapids Mayor, George Heartwell; Clearwire press release

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected] Development News tips can be sent to [email protected]
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