The Challenge of Municipal Wi-Fi
While some cities tried to arrange deals with private providers and others tried to forge networks on their own, major hurdles to municipal Wi-Fi in the U.S. have been the development of network infrastructure and the question of funding.
"On one side, there's Philadelphia, where IT officials announced in December 2009 that they would build the network themselves, more than a year after the EarthLink deal fell through. After their private model flopped, IT officials decided a public Wi-Fi neftwork would better serve the city by enhancing mobile applications and access for building inspectors, code enforcers and emergency responders.
But Minneapolis, which just completed its $20 million network, went a different route. Rather than build their own network, city officials chose to become the anchor tenant for US Internet, a 15-year-old international provider of Internet and hosting services. That financial security freed the company to build a network that would also serve residents. The city already boasts more than 16,000 private subscribers, said Joe Caldwell, CEO of USI Wireless, a subsidiary of US Internet."