A partnership between the city of Rio Rancho, New Mexico and private companies will result in a citywide wireless network: The network will use access points from Meru, wireless backhaul from Proxim, and billing and operational support from LogiSense. A 25-year agreement allows Azulstar Networks, the service provider, to install network equipment on utility poles, buildings, and other city infrastructure. Intel, which has a lab in Rio Rancho, is also offering access point locations and support.
This arrangement may prove to be the ideal relationship between private companies and cities. The city is involved in the project as far as supporting it and offering access point locations. But it doesn't appear to be using taxpayer money to fund it. Funding comes from private investors. Yet, residents will benefit from the network. Subscriptions start at $19.95 a month for 256 Kbps service, a comparable speed to DSL yet less expensive. The network will also offer unlimited voice over Wi-Fi service for $24.95 for calls anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. Look out local telco, real competition may be at your doorstep.
The network is expected to cover 103 square miles and be operational by March.