Complete Internet saturation may no longer be confined to the pages of a fairy tale, for Madison has finally inked a deal that will set up wireless Internet access in the downtown area.

The plan originated two years ago with America Online as the chief service provider, but the company came down with a bad case of cold feet last fall and opted out of the agreement. That set the stage for Cellnet, another network service provider, to take the reins.

Madison truly has lived up to Wisconsin's motto of "Forward" with this revolutionary plan. And if everything goes according to plan, the trend should continue to catch on and other cities will follow in Madison's footsteps.

Even more impressive is that the plan should not become a troublesome monetary burden on the City of Madison, as the agreement requires very little compensation from the city. The burden on Madison appears to be little more than allowing Cellnet to install the various towers necessary to send out the signal.

If current estimates pan out, by the end of March students will be able to move outside the confines of Memorial Library and the Union to log onto a wireless Internet connection. And while after an initial trial period those taking advantage of the service will have to pay a subscription fee, the cost appears to be a reasonable $25 a month (or possibly lower for students).

So expect to see a rapid increase in laptop computers making their way down State Street, for Madison has helped usher in a new chapter in the Internet Age.