May 21, 2007

Second Guessing Municipal Wireless [5:59 pm]

Cities struggle with wireless Internetpdf

Across the United States, many cities are finding their Wi-Fi projects costing more and drawing less interest than expected, leading to worries that a number will fail, resulting in millions of dollars in wasted tax dollars or grants when there had been roads to build and crime to fight.

[...] Lompoc’s backers, though, still claim success, “even if the whole network were to be written off tomorrow,” said Mark McKibben, Lompoc’s former wireless consultant.

“Prices dropped and quality of service went up,” he said. “That’s the way a lot of cities look at it. They don’t look at business profits and losses. They see it as a driver for quality of life.”

Of course, the point is that introducing wireless should have been about integrating it into the town’s mission of “roads to build and crime to fight;” assuming that it’s just about displacing Comcast/Verizon is just foolish.

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