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SparkNet lets you move about and do knowledge work safely
In one year Turku becomes Finland's "wireless" city

It is now one year since SparkNet, the public, wireless broadband net was introduced in the city of Turku. Now the extent and features of the net are unique in Finland; with hundreds of access points and thousands of active users. SparkNet offers universities, municipalities and enterprises the opportunity for safe, fast and easy wireless information. The present users of the net are entranced with their freedom to work and present their activities on portable computers in the various premises of the universities and municipalities.

In a coffee bar at the University of Turku researcher Anne Sell has her own office in Åbo Akademi University right there in her portable computer "virtually".
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Photo: Robert Seger

Juhani Reiman, managing director of the Turku firm PasaNet can work smoothly just about anywhere – wireless. In Turku his "mobile" work is facilitated greatly by SparkNet. The photo was taken at Paddington Station in London.
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Photo: Antti Lahti
SparkNet was launched on 14 May 2003. It was the creation of ICT Turku Ltd, MP-MasterPlanet Ltd and Universities in Turku. Using the net workers of the Turku area municipalities and universities and their students can work on one another's premises just as if they were in their own. And in many libraries holders of borrowers' cards can use the net free-of-charge.

Those joining SparkNet include University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Turku Polytechnic, the City of Turku, the municipalities of Naantali, Lieto, Kaarina, Merimasku and Saaristoverkot Ltd and other enterprises. Nowadays there are also SparkNet access points at Salo, Helsinki, Espoo, Rauma and soon at Utsjoki. The net is growing exponentially, and, in addition to Turku, a net is being constructed at Helsinki by MP-MasterPlanet Ltd and it's partner JT-Palvelu Ltd.

Around Turku some 250 access points have been connected and this year the number of access points will at least double. As SparkNet covers an ever wider area from Turku, the portable computers of more and more Turku people are becoming mobile computers which can be connected wireless to the information net when their owners are on the move. SparkNet has served to increase the number of connections used outside one's own work place, and has replaced former connections, which were slower and more expensive.

Researcher Anna Sell, of Åbo Akademi University, working on a doctorate, finds SparkNet an excellent way to do knowledge work in a flexible manner. She says that half the time she is on the move and can fit in work: write and article, answer e-mails etc. The best thing about the net from the very beginning was how easy it was to do work, as she did not even need to adjust the settings of her laptop. With a conventional user ID on her laptop Sell can access her files and easily make an Internet connection – on the premises of all the interest groups important to her in Turku and its surroundings.

Managing director Juhani Reiman of PasaNet Ltd says that for one thousand Euro the company got an excellent addition to its IT infrastructure. When the company got its own wireless LAN according to SparkNet it also got into easy contact with other SparkNet organisations. Nowadays SparkNet clients visiting PasaNet can have safe access to their own documents. On the other hand PasaNet workers on the move can respond promptly to their clients' queries and expectations. Reiman adds that even ADP sceptics are satisfied with the security of SparkNet, and that membership of it, at least for PasaNet is a plus factor for their image.


Jaakko Kuosmanen
Photo: Laura Hohteri
ICT Turku Ltd
Jaakko Kuosmanen, Man. Dir.
Tel. +358 400 536 086
Åbo Akademi
Anna Sell, Researcher
Tel. +358 40 596 3442
PasaNet Ltd
Juhani Reiman, Man. Dir.
Tel. +358 45 670 6770
Oy MP-MasterPlanet Ltd
Matti Kiviö, Man. Dir.
Tel. +358 40 582 1390

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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