When Pigs Wi-Fi: Free WiFi works in rural Oregon: "this chunk of arid farm country appears to be the largest Wi-Fi hot spot in the world, with wireless high-speed Internet access available free for some 600 square miles. Most of that is in eastern Oregon, with some just across the border in southern Washington .. Morrow and Umatilla Counties in eastern Oregon are far ahead of them in providing high-speed Internet coverage to residents, schools and law enforcement officers - even though all of Morrow County doesn't even have a single traffic light. .. [WiFi] is free for consumers and has been up and running for more than a year and a half.
One reason it sprang up here is that a nearby Army depot contains chemical weapons, so there is special concern about what would happen if a cloud of nerve gas escaped from the depot. That fear helped provide a pot of federal money to underwrite safety systems. Usually, the police and fire agencies communicate just by radio, but Hermiston decided to go with a public-private partnership that established a Wi-Fi network. .. all police officers now carry [wireless computers that] download data and receive images from video monitors - and, if nerve gas ever escaped, display the cloud's direction and speed.
Fingerprint readers are now being added to these portable devices so a police officer can almost instantly run a person's fingerprint through a multistate database. And if there's a report of a burglary, the police rushing to the scene can download floor plans of the building, live images from video monitors and information about the alarm system. ..
Hermiston is already starting to introduce WiMax, the next generation of technology after Wi-Fi, offering much higher speeds and greater range." 10:56:41 AM