St. Louis Park, Minn., has moved forward on canceling its deal with Arinc for that firm to continue to unwire the city: In one of the few cases nationally in which a city was to own the network, St. Louis Park finds itself dissatisfied with the pace and quality of the network that Arinc is building. Arinc disagrees with the quality measurement, and argues that the pace was in part set by the city; it would now peg August 2008 instead of summer 2007 as the network's completion date. That is if the contract weren't being terminated by the city.
The Star Tribune reports that the city has found Arinc in default, and will proceed on the next steps to extricating themselves, which could involve payments and/or lawsuits.
One could argue that there's nothing here that reflects mistakes by the city based on an ownership model. Rather, their vendor, which isn't known for building Wi-Fi networks, wasn't reportedly able to reach the marks that the city wanted. The flexibility here is that the city can fire the vendor and find another. With the private ownership model characterized by EarthLink, cities have no recourse if the vendor pulls up stakes unless they have penalty clauses in the contract. Here, St. Louis Park is on the hook for lost revenue and the outlay, although they may recover some money from the vendor.
Watch for St. Louis Park to be included in future anti-municipal wireless reports, but also watch for any future changes to the way the network is built and run to not be included, no matter how positive.