The Houston city council appears to have set a record in approving a Wi-Fi network: EarthLink was declared the winning bidder just two months ago. Many larger cities have spent 8 months or longer getting from winning bid to council-approved contract. Houston will be an anchor tenant. The network is estimated to cost $40m. As in many other EarthLink-contracted cities, the vote for approval was unanimous.
The network is currently the largest committed deployment at 600 sq mi. While county-wide networks and Wireless Silicon Valley may be larger (the latter covering 1,500 sq mi), those larger networks typically are in trials or require city-by-city sign-off for urban deployment. Free access is promised for five percent of the area.
Agreements for attachment to electrical utility poles--cue ominous music--are still underway with a private firm, Centerpoint Energy.