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Minneapolis picks local firm to build citywide WiFi network
Minneapolis has spurned national heavyweight Earthlink and given the nod to a small local firm, U.S. Internet, to build out its planned municipal WiFi network. While urban WiFi has been much-discussed for more than a year - notably San Francisco's partnership with Google -- the clear move forward in Minneapolis signals that business model and technology challenges are being being worked out, and city-managed Internet access may yet become as common in American cities as municipal water and electrical services. It's also a reminder that some business, like all politics, is local. According to the Star Tribune report, "U.S. Internet would build and operate the roughly $20 million Minneapolis Wi-Fi network and would offer consumers high-speed Internet service for $20 a month," a monthly fee that would be capped for ten years.

TechNewsWorld has a round up of the municipal WiFi movement, noting that "Anaheim, Calif.; Cleveland, Ohio; Corpus Christi, Tex.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Minneapolis, Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia; and Temecula, Calif. are working on citywide networks that residents will access at various rates." Despite much talk of bridging the "digital divide," a driving factor in the move to municpal WiFi, notes dailywireless.org, is the need for cities to upgrade their aging emergency communications networks: "the city also wants to replace its expensive cellular radio communications used by police cars with a cheaper and faster wireless data network."
Posted by Oliver Ryan 9:51 AM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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