From this week's MuniWireless conference in Santa Clara, Calif., three bits of news: The AP reports on the latest State of the Market Report from MuniWireless, which dropped the estimate for US spending on metro-scale wireless networks to $329m in 2007 from $460m in the 2006 report. It's still a hefty 35 percent rise above 2006 levels, and MuniWireless's Esme Vos noted elsewhere that the survey was done in the height of the muni-Fi crash in August.
Also from the conference, News.com blogs on AT&T's talk about their involvement with muni-Fi: Marguerite Reardon interviews AT&T's, take a breath, senior executive vice president of legislative and external affairs, let it out now, who says, "Cities have also evolved in how they think about citywide Wi-Fi. It's a very different scenario when a city is looking to partner with the private sector than if they go out and use taxpayer money and issue bonds to build a network that will compete with services already offered by the private sector." Yeah, they evolved, you know, back in mid-2005. Where were you?
The blog entry notes that AT&T withdrew from Springfield, Ill., and were turned down by Chicago (Reardon says "dropped out," but I'm not sure that's the right nuance as I thought both EarthLink and AT&T made offers the city didn't like); their likely exit from St. Louis, Mo., isn't mentioned.
Finally, Wireless Silicon Valley puts on a brave face, but did any of us know that Azulstar was the lead in raising money? I kind of thought that Cisco and IBM's involvement, as in Sacramento, meant that they were taking on some of the financing to assure the network would be built. The Sacramento partnership is facing the same travail. Could it be that Cisco and IBM here and Cisco, IBM, and Intel in Sacramento just signed on to sell and finance gear? It's happened before, but it's rather disappointing when blue-chip firms allow their names to be used on projects that are core enough for them to ensure they happen.