Finally, some good news from the muni-Fi market: MetroFi says its Portland, Ore., says 11,200 unique users employed its growing network in The City of Roses. This is 40 percent more than the previous month, the company says. They've registered nearly 20,000 people over six months. May's users spent an average of 94 minutes online in each session for a total of 131,000 hours. The company says usage represents 11.5 percent of the population of their current coverage area.
MetroFi can rack up these numbers because they promote ad-supported free Wi-Fi, in which the only pain is registering, rather than paying a fee. MetroFi didn't disclose how many (if any) subscribers are paying $20 a month to avoid advertisements.
On the negative side, the Associated Press found performance slow and spotty: An AP reporter wandered through the coverage area, and only had good results from the top of a Ferris Wheel. She tested other Wi-Fi networks using the same computer from the same location, and had no difficulties.