MeshNetworks is building a 24-square-mile municipal network in Medford, Ore. : The network will be used by city employees such as the police, fire department, and building inspection workers. The network can be more useful for such users compared to cellular technologies because the bandwidth is high in both directions. Users can send video, color photographs, or big reports back to their office. The technology used isn't Wi-Fi, but MeshNetworks's own flavor requiring their own adapters and access points.
It will be interesting to see how the introduction of WiMax certified gear may affect the market for these types of networks. Using 802.11 is a great idea today as the gear is relatively cheap and proven. But it's not ideal for building larger or mesh networks--it is, after all, a local area networking technology--which is why deployments like this turn to proprietary technologies in the unlicensed band. If WiMax becomes widely adopted and prices get low enough it could be ideal for these type of city deployments.