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Paris wants wireless Internet access across city

Paris wants wireless Internet access across city

Paris wants blanket wireless Internet cover by the end of 2007, helping to make it the most connected capital city in the world, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said on Tuesday.

Under a new plan, the city hopes to set up 400 free WiFi access points next year and allow Internet service providers to install antennae on strategically-located public property.

"We will act fast and firmly... to create the most favourable conditions for Paris," Delanoe told reporters at city hall. "It is a decisive tool for international competition and thus important for the city."

The plan also calls for slashing taxes on companies that lay down fibre optic cables in a drive to have 80 percent of all buildings within the city connected to so-called 'ultra-high speed' fibre optic networks by 2010.

"Sixty percent of Parisian households already have high-speed connections. ... Our goal will be not only to maintain this but also to move a step ahead," Delanoe said.

Licence fees for fibre optic cables already snaking through the city's sewer system would be cut by 25 percent, and the tax break would go up to 90 percent for the first 400 meters of new cables that branch out to connect buildings currently lacking the high-speed lines.

The free wireless access points -- to be located in parks, squares, libraries, and public areas -- will be set up by private firms that win contracts to be awarded in early 2007.

The project will also experiment with free WiFi access for an entire city quarter by the end of 2007.

Delanoe said he would be submitting the plans for city council approval early next week.


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