The city of Atlanta acts on a long-expected plan called Wireless Atlanta: Bids are due Aug. 2 for a universal affordable network for citizens, city workers, and public safety employees. The proposal can't cost the city a penny in initial outlay or ongoing expense. The RFP requires wholesale access and network neutrality. The city won't require a free solution, but wants ideas on making the network affordable, including no-cost access.
Atlanta is 132 square miles with 425,000 citizens, and, the RFP notes, a daytime population of 675,000. That's a lot of people coming into the city that might need some access, no? The RFPs cautions that proposals that exclude parts of the city won't be considered; they want 95 percent outdoors and 90 percent ground/second floor coverage with some form of bridge or amplifier indoors.
Section 3.2.7 sounds very familiar as it defines network infrastructure. A first tier must use 802.11g; that tier must be backhauled via fixed point-to-multipoint (i.e., WiMax or the like); that tier is aggregated via fixed point-to-point over licensed spectrum; then that carried to a high-speed POP. This is what EarthLink is building for its networks. I would imagine most metro-scale vendors can build this infrastructure in partnership or solo.
(The link to download the proposal from their General Fund RFPS/Bids page appears broken, but this link to the PDF I extracted from their HTML appears to work.)