A number of articles today indicate that the last few weeks' haze may be starting to lift slightly: More reasonable, targeted, smaller (at least initially) Wi-Fi networks will be built in cities, and we're starting to see some of that news percolate out.
If you haven't seen it already, read my interview from last week with EarthLink's CEO, Rolla Huff: Huff said that EarthLink is by no means out of the Wi-Fi business, but they're working to meet with potential partners and stakeholders to sort out whether a viable model is possible to build such networks. I suspect one reason Huff was willing to talk with me, as he's giving very few interviews on the muni topic right now, is that you readers may have ideas.
MetroFi launches two public access/public safety networks: Naperville, Ill., and Concord, Calif., see their MetroFi free-with-ads networks light up. Both networks combine public access and public safety, the potentially winning formula for city-scale operations. We'll see. Naperville's first phase goes live as early as this week; Concord is two-thirds done. The HeraldNews, Naperville's local paper, reports that MetroFi has seen usage triple in a matter of weeks in Aurora, which neighbors the town: from 500 unique registered users in May to 1,500 in July. The Aurora rollout has been dogged by utility pole issues, like many other networks.
Sacramento Wi-Fi nearing rollout: Sacramento was the scene of one of the first contract blowouts where the entity now known as Kite Networks walked away from the bargaining table when asked to provide free service as rates higher than 56 Kbps. The Sacramento Metro Connect consortium (Cisco, Intel, Seakay, and Azulstar) will launch free-with-ads Wi-Fi downtown in December. The project will commence this month after a contract being awarded in June. The entire city will ultimately have the service. Higher rates of speed than a level not defined in this article--probably 300 to 500 Kbps, based on earlier reports--will cost $15 per month.
Portsmouth, N.H., expands coverage across city's major corridors: This is a Chamber of Commerce project which will provide free Wi-Fi using a grant and donated gear. Cisco will provide gear, while the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab--a Wi-Fi Alliance testing facility--will provide technical expertise. The city will be partly a lab, allowing companies to test gear, apparently, too.