The city of St. Louis Park, Minn., considers solar-powered Wi-Fi network: The service would be deployed by ARINC in the current plan, using 400 solar panels paired with batteries and Wi-Fi nodes. A city official estimates savings of $40,000 to $50,000 per year in electricity. Not noted is a comparison of upfront costs for solar deployment versus what are often highly variable costs in wiring nodes into utility pole power supplies. The power at poles and other locations can be of varying voltage, only in operation certain hours of the day, or taxed to the limit, requiring substantial rework to obtain additional juice.
The Wi-Fi service is currently being tested by 300 residents in the 10-square-mile town of about 45,000 and 20,000 households. The service would be fee-based, and the city will pay $3.3m upfront to have ARINC design, build, and operate the network, with the investment expected to span five years of upgrades and maintenance. It's described as a public/private partnership, but with the city paying the costs, it's unclear precisely where the ownership lies. Service would bafflingly range from $15 per month for 128 Kbps to $20 for 1 Mbps. That's a strange range.