John Cox exhaustively examines what works (and doesn't) with municipal Wi-Fi for Network World: This article thoroughly goes over what failed in rolling out city-wide Wi-Fi, and what kinds of networks seem to be playing out successfully so far. There's not enough history with nearly any of the "successful" networks out there, but building networks designed primarily for municipal or public safety purposes seems to produce revenue savings and an increase in specific results. You have to love the lead, too: "Municipal Wi-Fi is dead." Followed by a good summary of how the "classic" flavor is all washed up.
Portland, Ore., considers its options with MetroFi's stalled network: The city of Portland alerted MetroFi in February that it considers the company "in default of contract," according to the (Portland) Oregonian. MetroFi told the paper that his firm won't be finishing the network without "financial support from the city and left open the possibility MetroFi will shut off the entire system." CEO Chuck Haas also seems to have sworn off ad-supported Wi-Fi, something the company switched to years ago, deciding there's truly not enough revenue there to turn a profit. Local group Personal Telco may move into a more leading role, given their steady work while MetroFi fiddled with their business model.
The Oregonian's blog cites some items from the 6 Feb. 2008 letter sent by Portland to MetroFi, noting a lack of ongoing communication and maintenance, as well as a failure to provide information about its advertising partner MSN's privacy practices.
Washington State Ferry Wi-Fi adjusts pricing: Ferry-Fi operator Parsons now offers 2-hour sessions for $3.95, and pre-paid packages of up to 20 sessions for $29.95 (about $1.50 per session). Monthly service remains $30 per month, but Parsons roams with Boingo and iPass at no extra charge.