Vail’s townwide wireless goes live |

Vail’s townwide wireless goes live

Vail Daily file photoVail's wireless Internet network is carried on nodes (the black cylinder above) but they will be mounted in more discreet places than their original location on the town's lamp posts.

VAIL – Barrie Pressly said didn’t even know the town of Vail’s wireless network was already online.”I thought it was going to be years,” she said.The townwide wireless network went live last week, covering 95 percent of the town from East Vail to West Vail, according to CenturyTel, the company that built the network.Pressly, who is new to town and lives in West Vail, said she was using Starbucks’ paid wireless service at the Starbucks in Vail Village to send some e-mail and do some banking. She would definitely look into the townwide service, she said.CenturyTel is providing both free and paid-service Internet. The free service is slower, at 300 kilobits per second, and is only available in one-hour increments. In comparison, dial-up service is about 56 kilobits per second.The paid service is supposed to be as fast as 100 megabits per second, according to CenturyTel, although standard Wi-Fi laptops max out at 54 megabits per second.The service costs $9.99 for one day, $44.95 for a week, $59.95 for a month or $499.95 for a year. The prices for the faster service seem reasonable, Pressly said.”That’s about what other services cost,” she said, although she might end up getting wireless broadband, which would be available outside the Vail Valley.’It’s priceless’Julia Falcone of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., who was using her laptop at Starbucks, said she was using the free Vail municipal network.”It’s priceless,” she said.Falcone, a Realtor, said her vacation unexpectedly turned into a working vacation.”I have customers who want to list their homes back in Florida,” she said.She was grateful for the free service, and was hoping she would soon actually have some fun on her vacation.”I’m going to try if I can ever get through this market analysis,” she said.About 100 people used the free service over the weekend, said Jim Selby, vice president of wireless technologies for CenturyTel.Several people have bought daily, weekly and monthly access, Selby said. That’s a good result considering it hasn’t been advertised yet, Selby said.”It’s been totally a soft launch,” he said.The network allows for bulletins for individual neighborhoods like East Vail, West Vail or Vail Village, Selby said.”It’s going to have a real local flavor to it,” he said.Earlier this year, the Town Council chose CenturyTel to build the network. CenturyTel paid for the $750,000 network and will maintain it after it’s built. The network is made up of about 90 “nodes” throughout town. The nodes are mounted on bus shelters, light poles, parking structures and on other town building. In Vail Village, the nodes are disguised by faux light poles.For more informationWireless Internet users in Vail should select “VAIL” or “CenturyTel” as their wireless network to log on. For more information, call 866-766-9219 or go to Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or Daily, Vail Colorado CO

Support Local Journalism