NYC subways get cell, Wi-Fi: A consortium will put cell antennas and Wi-Fi service in six stations over two years, and if successful unwire 271 additional station over four years. Tunnels will remain without service, which isn't a surprise. The transit authority gets the system at no cost; it's estimated to cost $46m. The brief article doesn't describe where revenue comes from or which firms are in the consortium. However, cell carriers pay fees to firms that operate antennas in obscure areas because carriers see an increase in usage, service fees, and satisfaction. In airports, for instance, Concourse and individual carriers built out the service, and then are paid fees to cover operational costs.
USA Today on muni-Fi: "woes everywhere you turn": The USA Today weighs in on the fate and state of municipal Wi-Fi networks. No new ground broken, but it's a fascinating rundown for a mass consumer audience of exactly what's not happening. (Features inevitable quote by yours truly; big-city muni-Fi seems entirely out of reach right now is my take.)
TechNewsWorld offers a similar but more extensive look at the topic: David McClure of the Verizon-funded U.S. Internet Industry Association, which backed earlier anti-muni-Fi reports, is a bit strident, but not inaccurate when he states there are no "significant audience[s] of paying users" anywhere. Strident, but accurate. I used to disagree with much of what McClure said, except his advice on how cities should plan and evaluate network deployments. Now, well, he sounds reasonable. How did that happen? Back when he was labeled a sock puppet--primarily by me--I was referring to the vested and undisclosed interests he represented. His part of the report that launched a thousand diatribes contained good advice at the end. But he's still too broad when he says Wi-Fi can't work over square miles. It does and provably can. He's correct when he says it's a bad technology to penetrate walls for indoor coverage--it's not designed for it, and while you can build a network in which residential indoor coverage works, it's clearly far too expensive for the revenue because of the lack of users in these early networks.
Roanoke, Virg., says "reliability has been an issue": A downtown Wi-Fi network built by Cox Communications doesn't appear to be good enough for residents to use, but Cox says they're honoring a level of service agreed to last October. Cox says their network (meaning the backbone) is fine, despite parts of the Wi-Fi network being unable to access the Internet. Based on comments in this article, the network has essentially never worked well. (I see the same problems with Seattle's neighborhood networks found in just a couple of places around town, and sponsored by the city. The one in the University District just doesn't perform for me indoors or out in anything like a reliable fashion. Yet, it sees usage!)