European Wi-Fi operator The Cloud today unveiled plans to extend its network of city-wide Wi-Fi hotspots across Europe.
According to the firm, its dedicated Metro Wi-Fi business unit, headed up by Ben van Dongen in Amsterdam, will roll out city hotspots across Europe over the next two years.
The initiative, which is "actively engaged with more than 30 cities", is said to have been prompted by growing demand for next generation applications including voice over IP, entertainment and broadband internet applications on the move.
Berge Ayvazian, chief strategy officer at Yankee Group, said: “Although Europe has generally lagged behind the US, Yankee Group has identified more than 150 wireless broadband projects initiated by or for European cities and towns. Local governments are starting to benefit from the increased productivity, traffic management and public safety benefits of these networks, and anticipate additional benefits of regional economic development, digital inclusion and broadband competition.
"As the digital cities’ movement accelerates in Europe, Yankee Group expects the market to shift from government owned and operated to service provider initiated wireless broadband projects.”
Investment in building and operating public wireless networks for European cities is estimated to reach over €100 million over the next two years. By 2008 it is estimated that there will be more than 160 million Wi-Fi-enabled devices in Western Europe, which represents one third of Western European mobile consumers.
The Cloud also announced city-wide Wi-Fi agreements with Stuttgart in Germany and Karlskrona in Sweden.
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