The network will be based on the Cisco Systems wireless mesh technology, which supports a combo of WiFi (802.11 a/b/g) and WiMAX (802.16). IBM, meanwhile, will provide network design and integration services, as well as technology applications. Azulstar Networks will act as the network operator and provide design and engineering services as well as usability applications, such as billing and customer support systems.
The trio, along with SeaKay, previously won a contract to build a wireless network in Silicon Valley, encompassing every city and county in both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, as well as the cities of Fremont and Newark in Alameda County and the City of Santa Cruz. The four companies are also bidding to do likewise in Sacramento, Calif.
The Wireless Winston project plan is to offer free WiFi broadband Internet access to the more than 225,000 area residents, employees and visitors. It will also offer premium fee-based services such as wireless voice-over-IP calling and video streaming. The network is expected to eventually span all of Forsyth County, of which Winston-Salem is part.