With free wifi and easier parking, Jerusalem of gold to become smart city

City’s new independent municipal wireless network will also enable more security, better lighting and less traffic

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

The Chord's Bridge lit up in welcome for US President Donald Trump, May 22, 2017. (Jerusalem Municipality)
The Chord's Bridge lit up in welcome for US President Donald Trump, May 22, 2017. (Jerusalem Municipality)

Israel’s Communications Ministry has given the Jerusalem Municipality a first permit to set up an independent municipal wireless communications network.

The Jerusalem Municipality intends to install the new communication network within three months, and according to the plan, have dozens of connections active by the end of 2017, the municipality said in a statement.

The new wireless network will be the basis for a smart city system: it will allow for the installation of a camera network that can monitor the streets and connect with security and emergency services; it will also allow for the installation of smart parking solutions — enabling drivers to know via an app where parking is available, for example — and the regulation of traffic.

The technology will also enable the city’s education system to access fast internet; enable lower-energy and lower-cost smart street lighting, and free wifi internet service throughout the city, the statement said.

All these steps will be implemented gradually, said Eitan Barzilay, head of business, economic, and technological development at the municipality.

“We are bringing the most advanced technological innovations to one of the most ancient cities in the world,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “Jerusalem will be the first city in all of Israel to introduce this innovative technology, which will enable us to upgrade many services for our residents. This new initiative will position us alongside the world’s leading smart cities.”

The network will be based on millimeter wave technology, a spectrum band of between 30 gigahertz and 300 gigahertz, to avoid the need to install optic fibers and transmission lines, which are expensive, take a long time to install, and are disruptive for the public. The network has the ability to transfer data at speeds of from 1 gigahertz to 5 gigahertz.

Because of the high frequency and narrow transmission beam of the technology, the equipment emits especially low radiation — even lower than a regular home router, the statement said.

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