China Expands Wireless City Projects

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China is set to expand wireless Internet coverage in some major cities, with a unified network proposed for one of the country's most prosperous regions.

Guangdong province is looking to build a network that would cover the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan, according to a report in state-run newspaper China Daily on Thursday. The project would cover 927 square kilometers (358 square miles) and cost about 1 billion yuan (US$145.6 million), the report said, giving no timetable as to when it might be completed.

Other cities -- including Beijing and Hangzhou, near Shanghai -- have wireless city projects underway or in trials. Beijing's WiCity program, has so far been plagued with problems during its Olympic roll-out, including language issues and login problems.

China has not yet said what standard the Guangdong network will use, although WiCity is using Wi-Fi. Because WiMax is seen as a competitor to 3G (third generation) services, which all three Chinese mobile operators are preparing to deploy, its acceptance for such projects seems unlikely.

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