Streetwise Wireless Laptops – More from a lamp-post than a stop for the dog?

OK, I admit it, when I heard about this I had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st, but apparently these guys are no fools. A British firm is looking to use the established infrastructure of the many lamp-posts dotting around merry old England to produce a network, a web if you will, of easily accessible services, by turning the lamp-posts into wireless access points.

Last Mile Communications are the company behind this bold step and they are teaming up with a security company Qinetiq to test out their tech in an undisclosed location. (is this the same undisclosed location that Dick Cheney keeps getting whisked off too?)

So how does it work? Well, the company will convert the street lights so they can be accessed via your mobile computer to get on the internet, just like every other wireless access point, but with a lamp-post every few meters on almost every road in the UK this would mean that you would always be connected no matter where you were!

Also Last mile want to put flash memory in the lights so even without accessing the internet you could find information about local amenities, such as pubs, shops, even the local kebab emporium! All the user would need is Last Miles Application “Magicbook” on their mobile device and they could just pick up the information on the fly.

If that wasn’t enough the company want to tie their technology up with the emergency services so fire, police or ambulance services can reach the public quicker. The thinking is if every lamp-post is self aware then finding anywhere in the UK would be greatly aided.

At £500 ($933) per lamp-post this endeavour is not going to be cheap, but lets hope a few financial backers out there see that this is a business vehicle with true potential.

By Ian Bandy

Saturday, April 09, 2005