Huge overview of municipal networks in New York Times: The Times covers the range from a town of 312 in the Ohio Appalachian range to Philadelphia and Suffolk County. The small town of Chesterhill, Ohio, uses a water tower to reach residents, and it's already had a small but significant impact on the residents' spending. An interesting quote from St. Cloud, Florida's mayor points out that his goal was not to provide free service per se, but reduce payments by local residents to broadband firms outside the area. By building cost conservation for city employees as one leg of the plan, and providing what the mayor estimates is $450/year per resident who uses the city network not being sent off to large companies, he hopes the local economy sees a boon. (Hey, what if those people put their money into a bank! Not American.) This is part of the Walmart phenomenon: Walmart may have the best prices, but all its profits go to Bentonville (and then out to shareholders as dividends wherever they may live). It's interesting to see metro-scale Wi-Fi recast in the sustainable agriculture mode.
Three counties could get Wi-Fi network in South Jersey: About 1.2 million people would be covered in the proposed areas in Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester counties. It's just a concept, but part of a growing trend for county-scale networks that may have more of an outdoor/mobility focus than the residential/mobility bent of urban networks. The three counties cover 1,378 square miles.
Pittsburgh agrees on downtown Wi-Fi: Though it was looking like the proposal might fail, the city council wound up approving access to the utility poles necessary to cover downtown with free Wi-Fi. The group behind the service, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, agreed to allow competition in the form of vendor-neutral access or sharing poles. This is a little broad: Vendor-neutral networks which wholesale access are cheap to hop on as a retail ISP; but adding radios is expensive. The council did want to ensure competition to make it more desirable to have the entire city covered. They've tiered the cost of utility pole usage based on digital divide coverage areas.