Bye-Bye City Wide Wi-Fi

Philadelphia Skyline

It has been announced that Philadelphia is shutting down it's City Wide wi-fi service. It looks like the idea of public-private municpal wi-fi partnerships did not work. This was the hot idea a few years ago. In 2005 CNet asked "Philadelphia is venturing into the Wi-Fi frontier and liking what it sees. The big question is, will it feel the same way two years from now?" The answer seems to be no.

I talked to someone who used to worked for Earthnet about this. He said that many of these projects were doomed from the start. Many times the cities did not have the rights to let Wi-Fi providers to put antennas where they wanted to. The companies would need multiple approvals to put antennas on the tops of street lights, traffic lights, and phone poles. They could not compete with the money cell phone companies pay private building owners.

I am not sad to see public Wi-Fi go away. I really saw it as a bad idea for the competitive nature of internet service. When I worked for TiVo I worried that people would not be able to get their box hooked up to the internet with these services.

I bet this idea comes back with a future set of wireless technology.


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