Municipal WiFi – A Free Public Utility

Municipal WiFi networks (“MuniNets”) are city-wide 802.11x (b,e,g,n) (wireless) mesh networks that may run a mean metropolis $10-15 million. Wi-fi transmitters are positioned all through town in public right-of-ways like atop road poles, visitors lights, and pedestrian visitors areas. The mesh community creates a “cloth” of connectivity that enables anyone with a wireless system to see the community, connect to it, and, subsequently, use the Web totally free.

The state of Muni-WiFi at present appear to be this: 159 present and operational networks; 54 networks underneath development; and 78 Mini-WiFi’s underneath RFP (request for proposal). Muni-WiFi is a giant deal – some large names are entering into the image like Google, Microsoft, Earthlink, Cisco, and Motorola; instance – Portland, Oregon is getting their MuniNet up by the tip of 2007 via a partnership with Microsoft and an organization known as MetroFi; Google’s in San Francisco in partnership with Earthlink.

Okay, so everyone desires a bit of the motion but when the connectivity is free, you may surprise, “er-what motion”? Nicely, in Portland, MetroFi will push banner advertisements on the prime of the browser totally free connectivity, and if you would like connectivity with no advertisements, that’d be a cool $20/month paid to the native municipality, please.

Consider it: a free, public area sizzling spot the scale of downtown.

For those who’re into discovering distinctive methods to fund metropolis authorities, that is wanting fairly compelling: instantly you are an ISP and able to instantly competing with native teleco’s, LEC’s, and ISP’s. You’ve got received economic system of scale in your aspect – a literal metropolis of interconnected customers – and a bunch of advertisers salivating over a gradual stream of narrow-targeted advertisements to WiFi homeowners.

Then again, when you’re not about open companies and are into non-public enterprise, the explosion of “MuniNets” should look fairly scary. Assume how LEC’s and ISP’s are going to seek out it even more durable to compete towards a public utility. Additional, consider all the investments made by hundreds of people and companies to setup their very own hotspots all through city – key to their technique to draw and retain prospects, now folks can wifi wherever they need and so they do not have to be sipping your espresso http //192.168.1.1.

And when you’re a know-how service supplier, you have to be in a downright panic. No extra wifi routers to configure throughout the residence or workplace; no extra issues with privateness and safety; no extra threatening scare techniques about who could also be sniffing your wireless packets. Why? Connectivity on a “MuniNet” is professionally managed and out there from the road… identical to water. Crap – there goes subsequent yr’s marketing strategy.

There’s numerous threat right here, although. MuniNet’s are being applied with present requirements of wifi that do not maintain a candle to the subsequent technology of know-how – 802.16 WiFiMax: 75mbps throughput in a 30-mile radius working at 2.5-2.7ghz. Suppliers of this know-how may be capable of leapfrog the MuniNet and faucet proper into suburban areas which are past the municipal attain, rendering the MuniNet out of date.

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