Municipal WiFi: Boon or Boondoggle?

<p>Santa Monica, CA is succeeding where other larger cities have failed, creating a public WiFi system that actually makes money.</p>
June 12, 2008, 12pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"It's a sunny day on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. The popular outdoor shopping area is packed with musicians, skateboarders and shoppers, and everywhere you look, people are on their laptops.

The city offers free Internet access here. Law student Bud Jerke says that's why he came.

Bud Jerke: Yeah, I'm doing e-mailing, g-chatting with friends, instant messaging...

This was supposed to be the scene in cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco and Portland. They all teamed up with private companies to blanket their cities with Wi-Fi. The idea was to give low-income residents free access to the Internet and attract businesses. One after another, the projects failed."

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Published on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 in Marketplace
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