HASSELT, Belgium, October 23, 2003 - The City of Hasselt, capital of the Flemish province of Limburg, has scaled to the top of Europe's growing list of large wireless local area network (WLAN) deployments with a plan to provide hotspot access across its entire town centre, using technology from Cisco. The project will allow citizens to access to email and the Internet, without wires, from anywhere in the metropolitan area's commercial centre.
The move will make Hasselt one of the biggest hotspots in Europe and follows the deployment of a WLAN - featuring 250 Cisco Aironet Series of Access Points and covering 4,000 users - across Limburg's high school two years ago. As an extension of that project, the city-wide infrastructure will allow students to get online in lecture halls, libraries, on the road and around town — positioning Hasselt as a unique learning centre of excellence. Access will be free for the student population and anyone else will be able to log on through the service provider Sinfilo.com and pay for time online either by credit card or using a voucher.
Steve Stevaert, the Mayor of Hasselt, said: "Industry, education, e-government and other applications nowadays all need fast mobile access to the Internet. WLAN is the number one technology enabler for this at present and thanks to it, Hasselt will be one of the first cities in Europe to offer citywide hotspot services. We could not have done this without Cisco's expertise and technology."
"Delivering WLAN connectivity enables us to bring new services to our customers, and enable a broadband experience for the mobile user. WiFi is proving an excellent platform to deliver educational tools to students, while at the same time offering a new freedom in information sharing to the population of Hasselt." Said Jeroen Meens of Sinfilo.com
Hasselt's WLAN is powered by the Cisco Aironet Series of Wi-Fi Access Points. In addition to the hot-spot facility for all users, a vital feature of the infrastructure provided to students is secure access to the high school's intranet thanks to security provided by Cisco's LEAP (or EAP-Cisco Wireless) Extensible Authentication Protocol.
Ian Phillips, Wireless Technology Product Manager for Cisco Systems EMEA, said: "The second phase of the Hasselt WLAN project is due to be started at the beginning of 2004. Ultimately the city will not only have one of the world's largest wireless Internet hotspots, benefiting students, citizens and visitors alike, but also be in an excellent position to benefit from multiple, cost efficient IP-based services such as IP telephony. It is a very exciting project and one that Cisco is very pleased to have been involved in."