Muni Wi-Fi

Portland Vacation: Paying Customers

In the comments of my Philadelphia WiFi post I was asked a couple of questions.

What do you think really went wrong?

1. Cities were expecting to get free infrastructure from the private partners. They were hoping for minimal outlay they would get the companies to do all the work.

2. The technology was not really up to the purpose they asked for it. Wi-fi 802.11 often has problem with coverage in offices, going through walls. It does not always go through external wall well at all. People who had problems often had to buy an extender that cost more that $300. It would blow the price structure way out of the water.

3. The business models were not in place when the companies started offering the service to customers. Companies had some vague idea that they would make their money back in some local ad serving service. They did not know what they had to offer to their ad customers. They where going on a wing and a prayer

4. It was not the real solution to the problem.

Why did you feel that competition would be hindered with this wireless technology?

1. Companies where signing exclusive deals with cities. They were not setting up infrastructures that any provider could use.

2. Once the system is in place, there is no instentive to upgrade the system.

What do you think would work for the city?

Run high bandwidth cables through the main parts of the city. Run this cable to important parts of the city, including undeserved parts of the cities. Encourage businesses to use this cable to offer services they would not offer other wise


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