Latest numbers of US municipal projects at MuniWireless.com: Esme Vos has released her latest report (free) on the number of cities in the US that have, plan to have, or are thinking about planning to have wireless networks. She counts 68 networks in operation as of Sept. 10 for combined public/municipal use, 43 public networks, 35 municipal-use only networks, 135 planned deployments (RFP/RFI issued or network underway), and 25 areas where networks are being considered. She counts 281 serious networks up from 247 in June 2006. (She gets 306 networks if you count those 25 that are pre-RFP/RFI.) Vos has the most definitive public information on this topic, and, as always, solicits feedback for corrections and additions.
Milwaukee reconsiders preferred contractor: Midwest Fiber Network's plans to fiberize and unwire the Wisconsin town are now up in the air--pun intended--as the city council pulls its support for a non-bidder deal. The council approved a deal in January, but the contract wasn't negotiated and submitted until June. The council is now in negotiation with EarthLink as a potential bidder. This might be a negotiating strategy on the city's part, of course.
Mercury News's Langberg handicaps the Wireless Silicon Valley plan: He has logic somewhat similar to mine, but with greater granularity and the added benefit of being local to the plan's territory. IBM told him the plan could cost over $75m, which is in line with my $50m-plus estimate. He notes, as I did, that IBM and Cisco have deep pockets meaning this project will be seen through to completion, and that the free service is quite respectable, making high uptake (paid via advertising?) likely. However, he points out that cities have to sign off on contracts individually, and we all know that cities have their own ideas about what they need. The assumption on the network's cost is that cities will be anchor tenants, shifting their data and telecom spending to the new network. Where cities can find this cost effective, they'll do it. Philadelphia has said in the past that moving wired, lease T-1 lines to broadband wireless (not Wi-Fi) links operated by EarthLink will save potentially millions of dollars.