Bresnan Tests Wi-Fi in Big Sky Country

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Bresnan Communications has initiated a test of a Wi-Fi network covering a 1-square-mile area of downtown Billings, Mont., offering free wireless access to its local high-speed Internet customers.

Bresnan spokesman Shawn Beqaj said the Wi-Fi trial is the first the operator has undertaken. At some point, he said, Bresnan may charge a nominal fee to allow non-subscribers to access the wireless network. The Billings system has just under 30,000 total subscribers.

The Wi-Fi network uses wireless routers from BelAir Networks, which connect to Bresnan’s existing broadband network via Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 2.0 interfaces. Fujitsu Network Communications provided professional services to design and integrate the Wi-Fi solution.

Bresnan launched its small-scale test as municipal Wi-Fi networks in San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and other cities have been thrown into limbo after Internet service provider EarthLink last month announced it would stop investing in Wi-Fi buildouts without having guaranteed sources of revenue.

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