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News | 12/20/2002 5:00 am EST

Bell Canada launches Wi-Fi hotspot trial
Bell Canada has unveiled its BellZone Wi-Fi hotspot pilot project that will cover dense urban cores and high-travel locations in a few cities across the county. Under the three-month pilot program, Bell will convert a number of high-traffic payphones and other locations in Toronto, Kingston, Montreal and Calgary into wireless Internet access points. Other locations will be turned on over the course of the pilot program, which will run until the spring of 2003. This will give mobile professionals, business travelers and other consumers with 802.11b-enabled laptop computers and other wireless devices another option for connecting to the Internet and corporate networks. Users will be able to use the service for free during the three months. During the Wi-Fi hotspot trial, the company will evaluate usage patterns and habits as a way to determine an appropriate pricing model for the service when it moves to commercial deployment. Some of the locations included in the pilot program are: Toronto’s Union Station, Via Rail Panorama lounge in Montreal’s Central Station, the departure area of Montreal’s Dorval Airport, among others. In other Bell news, Bell Mobility has introduced MyFinder, a location-based services offering, that allows subscribers in Ontario and Quebec to look up restaurants, gas stations and hospitals. Subscribers will be able to retrieve distances, addresses and directions to a specific location. MyFinder is the first of a suite of location-based services the wireless operator plans to offer. The service will also soon be available on Bell Mobility’s VoiceNet services. MyFinder will cost the user 25 cents for each "Find Me" request.

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