Rio Rancho might turn off user fees on Wi-Fi network: Azulstar Networks will allow users 10 hours a month of 100 Kbps free service (as opposed to their 1.5 Mbps/256 Kbps down/up paid service) if the Rio Rancho city council approves it. The free service has paid tech support ($1.50 per minute), and requires viewing ads. The paid service is $20 per month for 400 Kbps down, and $40 per month for 1.5 Mbps down. The city has 70,000 people, mostly across 45 square miles of the 100 square mile town.
A conference in Austin will leave a free wireless network behind: This is quite a lovely idea. The World Congress of Information Technology (WCIT) has its biennial event in Austin this May, and Cisco's $700,000 donation of gear won't leave when the conference does. Instead, it will be a nucleus of service across the city. The city's IT and telecom departments along with Austin Energy will create and maintain the network, which will first be open to convention attendees. The conference's CEO said planning had been underway for a year. The network's first stage will cover the quite fantastic convention center (I was there for SXSWi last year), and nearby hotels and entertainment districts. Parks will be added later. The city has a fiber-optic loop that will provide backhaul.