Toronto Hydro to unwire largest city in Canada maybe by fall: Major news from the Great North with a dominant utility entering the broadband wireless business. The service would apparently compete most heavily with three wireless carriers rather than with wired incumbents because of the mobile voice potential. Toronto Hydro bought the city's streetlight operations for $60 million last year, providing them with mounting points and "free" power. Nothing like negotiating with yourself for access. The utility will install smart meters that can be read via Wi-Fi as the basis of the public system they will apparently deploy. [link via Rob Hyndman, a Toronto resident]
St. Cloud, Florida, up and running with 15 square miles: No reports from users yet, but the city wants to stake the claim to being the first citywide free Wi-Fi service in the U.S.
Portsmouth considers expansion of downtown zone: A variety of local businesses donate access, equipment, and maintenance for the Wi-Fi zone; the city pays for its library Wi-Fi. The counter shows over 1,400 unique individuals, most with multiple logins, during 2005.
Will it play in Peoria? Peoria Wireless Initiative studies whether a potential $3.5 to $5 million project to offer Wi-Fi citywide would fly.
Esme Vos explains New York's wireless lag in the New York Daily News: It takes a woman born in the Philippines who studied in the US and lives in Amsterdam to explain to New York why they're behind the times. Citywide networks could improve citizens lives, but also conserve spending by reducing cost and improving efficiency.
They should have called it Boomerang: Ricochet keeps trying to make its big comeback, but the predecessor company's failure to remove equipment and pay municipal bills has made it hard for the current owners of the technology to make inroads. Terabeam purchased the company a few years ago, and operates service in Denver and San Diego. They have last-generation, last-century technology with a key advantage: it operates in the 900 MHz band. However, Tim Pozar of the Bay Area Wireless Research Network and other groups told me that Ricochet radios caused enormous, but legal, interference in the unlicensed 900 MHz band. A few weeks ago, in an interview for a print article on a different topic, Pozar said, "any medium to long distance communication you wanted to do in the 900 MHz band was drowned out by noise" when Ricochet was in operation. Ricochet cites 20,000 users in Denver and 4,000 in San Diego at $25 per month; the modem is free.