The LA Times writes that Southern California Edison will allow some of its streetlights to be used in Santa Ana by EarthLink for a test network: The utility has been holding up routine requests for pole access based on concerns that no other utility in the US appears to share. Reporter James Granelli notes that Edison didn't reject requests to put radios on poles and streetlights; it just hasn't acted on them. I'm stunned that none of the cities have filed complaints with the FCC. Edison controls 613,000 streetlights across 183 cities; Los Angeles and Anaheim are outside Edison's control as they own their own electrical operations.
In Edison's defense, their streetlight system has an unusual design, in which there's no direct power feed as in other cities, and there's a concern about automatic switching equipment receiving interference. Of course, in the end, that's Edison problem: They can't deny access for this reason under the Telecom Act. They would more likely be required to perform a massive network upgrade.
EarthLink has been testing a variety of gear and frequencies to alleviate these fears.