From Wilkes-Barre, we find that yet another firm wants to mitigate their risk in building a metro-scale network: First, MetroFi says they're no longer planning to offer free public Wi-Fi in cities that won't commit to minimum municipal service purchases. Then EarthLink, after another quarter of earnings pulled down by the decline in dial-up and Helio's startup costs, says they're looking into how their early cities work, and seem unlikely to bid on smaller-city RFPs. Now, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., has to re-issue an RFP after its winning bidder stated--according to this article--that it needed the city to act as a guarantor on a $1.25m loan required for it to execute the project.
The city voted against the proposal because of that requirement, which the city maintains wasn't part of the initial negotiations with the firm, from what this article says. A councilman is quoted stating, "We talked to other companies that said they could do it at no cost to the city because it will pay for itself, so we’re rebidding it." Unlikely. That was last year, and a previous set of expectations.
I had wondered when city-wide Wi-Fi would mature to a point that service providers would require multiple lines of business to be in place before building out a network. That point appears to have arrived quite loudly.