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Municipal WiFi Dead?

wifi router

Earthlink‘s recent problems has set back the cause of municipal WiFi. Earthlink missed a deadline in Houston, and has bowed out of WiFi in San Francisco. Chicago has scrapped their WiFi project.

The question that has stalled most municipal installations of WiFi is whether private enterprise or local government should build and own the network. The other question they should be asking is whether WiFi is the right wireless technology. Local governments don’t deal with change very well. If they build a mesh WiFi network in 2007, you can bet it’ll never change. You’ll have the same network in 2020. For the companies thinking about entering the municipal WiFi business, dealing with the demands of local politicians may make the task impossible.

I’d like Internet access everywhere. I’d like to resolve the digital divide. But will municipal WiFi really solve those problems?

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