Pithy, terse, cogent: Tim Wu on muni-Fi fail: If you want a city-wide network, and it's useful to the city, the city may need to pony up. The money sentence: "Private municipal wireless networks have to compete against competitors with better infrastructure who paid off their capital investments years ago." I'd also note that the competitors are highly subsidized, regulatorily protected, and have monopoly positions, to boot. Wu cites St. Cloud, Flor., as a success story, but the numbers aren't the whole story; read the current mayor's comment on MuniWireless from March 2007.
Martin Zaimov is running for mayor of Sofia, Bulgaria, on the free Wi-Fi platform: The candidate, described in this Sofia News Agency article as right wing, promises free Wi-Fi within a month in 100 locations in the city. There are 400,000 Internet users in Sofia, the article states. Isn't that a form of vote buying?
St. Paul, Minn., wants fiber: A trend? Comcast and Qwest oppose the move: "'Government-run broadband networks are risky ventures that often rely on overly optimistic subscriber and revenue projections. When the networks fail to meet financial goals, the taxpayers get stuck with the bill,' said Andrew Schriner, Qwest's director of public policy." I love the smell of industry-funded-think-tank reports in the morning.
Chicago expands surveillance system with wireless links: Firetide's gear was tapped to extend the fiber-backed infrastructure that runs Operation Virtual Shield--something with a name like that must be fantastic!--a system of video surveillance that tracks traffic and analyzes inputs for suspicious patterns across parts of the city. I'm not a fan of the police state with Big Brother watching us, but I do like my personal safety. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs... (For more information on this topic, read Philip K. Dick's Minority Report, or, for that matter, any Philip K. Dick novel.)