Toledo, Ohio's mayor has backed away from Wi-Fi plan: The mayor says the city won't continue to seek council approval for a $2.2m contract with MetroFi. The contract would cover five years of service for the city, and was estimated to be at or near a cost conservation level compared with current services. MetroFi would spend about $5m to build advertising-supported free service, with an optional paid, ad-free offering as elsewhere. The city's IS director resigned and then was fired after a confrontation with the mayor over the plan's leadership. The mayor is now looking for partners, and won't "spend taxpayer money." Of course, if you have a five-year plan that could be revenue neutral, you're risking that it won't be, but you're not per se spending taxpayer dollars; and, no savings from efficiency were calculated.
The parent company of the newspaper covering this story put in a bid that the city found incomplete; MetroFi won in that round. That firm, Buckeye CableSystem, says that MetroFi's solution "is likely to become obsolete," and continues by criticizing Wi-Fi as a metro-scale solution. Well, sure, but what's the alternative? Mobile WiMax? Maybe next year, and you need licensed spectrum. And all technology becomes obsolete; it's a question of the value over its expected lifetime and whether that value presents an opportunity by investing now rather than waiting some period of time. Wi-Fi will get better, and any well designed network could be upgraded in phases.
Baton Rouge network will be shut down: JoVoGo Communications is looking for investors to upgrade its network; in the meantime, they're turning off the network. The firm purchased the network from US Wireless (Web site dead)--not to be confused with Minneapolis's network builder US Internet--but apparently didn't like the system design. The network's poor performance led the firm to first not charge for it, and then decide just to turn it off. JoVoGo's head would like more city commitment, but Baton Rouge's mayor said JoVoGo hadn't approached him for funding.