After months of delays and scaled-back plans, the Sprint PCS wireless telephone network will launch today.
San Diego and Fresno are expected to be among the first handful of cities to receive the all-digital networks, which will compete with existing cellular systems. When fully developed, Sprint PCS will encompass 65 cities in the U.S., including 35 of the 50 biggest cities.
Sprint PCS Chief Executive Andrew Sukawaty will announce the initial markets this morning during a news conference in Kansas City, Mo. Between five and 10 cities will be online by the end of the year.
Sprint PCS--a joint venture between the Westwood, Kan.-based long-distance company and cable TV firms Tele-Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc.--had planned to launch in November and serve about 20 markets by January. Financial problems caused a change of plans.
PCS, or personal communications services, works like cellular technology, but because it's digital the signal is clearer than traditional cell phone calls. PCS can also accommodate added features such as paging and boasts a longer battery life.
Sprint PCS will face competition from PrimeCo Personal Communications, a partnership that includes AirTouch Communications Inc., Nynex Corp., Bell Atlantic Corp. and U.S. West Media Group. That service began last month and serves 16 cities. Pacific Bell Mobile Services also operates a digital PCS network in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
* Mayor Richard Riordan spoke with Microsoft recently about technology-oriented solutions to improve justice and public safety in Los Angeles. Among Riordan's answers: a Web site to provide information on the whereabouts of known sex offenders on parole, and turning mug shots and fingerprints into digital files. For a transcript of the discussion, point your browser to http://www.microsoft.com/industry/justice/expttest.htm
* The House of Blues is hosting a series of cyberconcerts to celebrate the Christmas season. Hootie & the Blowfish, the Black Crowes and Tina Turner are some of the bands whose performances will be cybercast over the Internet. Concerts begin at noon. To tune in or check out the complete schedule, go to http://www.liveconcerts.com
* The Weather Channel is on the Web (http://www.weather.com) with forecasts for cities around the world. For the U.S., there are satellite pictures and Doppler radar images to show areas of precipitation. There are also forecasts for travelers and skiers.
* There are 40,000 troops in Bosnia right now, including 14,000 Americans. Send them a free electronic holiday card at http://cards.infi.net/bosniacard.html
* If you like NPR's "Car Talk" show, you'll love the Web site (http://cartalk.com). Listen to highlights from the automotive call-in show or read the newspaper column of Tom and Ray Magliozzi (a.k.a. Click and Clack). The site is laden with "Car Talk" humor, including the "Second Opinion Booth," where visitors can improve on Tom and Ray's advice.
* Conservationists will find a great resource in the World Conservation Monitoring Centre's Web page at http://www.wcmc.org.uk:80/cis/index.html. Check whether a particular animal or plant is threatened, review maps and statistics of forests and coastal areas and read up on biological diversity.
* The Housing Authority of the city of Los Angeles offers online applications for housing for low-income families and the elderly through its Web site at http://www.hacla.org
* Looking for an online chat? Visit the WebChat Broadcasting System at http://www.wbs.net. Select from an array of topics, including entertainment, sports, current events and travel.
* Save money on legal fees at http://www.e-legal.com. You'll find free templates for legal documents, ranging from bills of sales to loan agreements.
* Looking for a job in the public sector? Check out Jobs in Government at http://www.JobsInGovernment.com. Search the database by location or job category. Most of the listings are for California.
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