Spotnik secures Wi-Fi funding from Telus

Public wireless LAN (WLAN) provider Spotnik Mobile announced Friday it has secured $6 million in financing from Vancouver telecommunications company Telus Corp. towards the development of a public high-speed Wi-Fi network.

Specifically, Spotnik received the funding through Telus Ventures, which targets emerging technology ventures that align with Telus’ data, voice, IP and wireless strategy, the companies said.

Toronto-based Spotnik provides secure public high-speed wireless Internet services across Canada. The company said it is currently developing a network of Wi-Fi “hot spots” within various public institutions – such as airports, hotels and conference centres – that allows mobile workers access to high-speed Internet and corporate Intranets.

Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11b, uses unlicensed radio spectrum in the 2.4GHz range to provide wireless data rates of up to 11Mbps in public and private locations – up to 10 times faster than existing wireless networks.

Spotnik said it will officially launch the network early 2003, at which time it will showcase its network partners and various public Wi-Fi locations.

While not specifically targeted to the enterprise, the development of public Wi-Fi bodes well for enterprise mobile professionals and their needs for an easily accessible mobile broadband service, said a spokeswoman for Spotnik.

Spotnik claimed it is the first Canadian public wireless LAN service provider to both secure funding from and partner with a major telecommunications carrier. Spotnik’s strategy is in an open, neutral-host model of doing business, according to Spotnik co-CEO Murray McCaig in a statement.

“The Spotnik approach is intended to relieve the carriers of the complexities involved in location rights negotiation, WLAN network deployment and service management,” McCaig said.

Partnering with Spotnik allows Telus to offer public WLAN service in key locations across Canada, said Telus Mobility vice-president of products and services Robert Blumenthal in a prepared statement.