Despite the apparent effort by those involved, it seems very clear from this Wall Street Journal article that there's really no hope for Wireless Silicon Valley: The head of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley is on a roadshow to sell the cities and counties who signed on to consider being part of a large network that they might enjoy ponying up some cash for the privilege. But Russ Hancock says that IBM and Cisco, the two big partners, want the new pay-for-play model to be in place instead of funding it.
That changes the basis on which the bid was awarded, I would think. The cities and counties that are participating didn't expect this, and while it is clearly unreasonable for these municipalities to believe that a network could be built without any money coming from them, it's a different enough model that it would make more sense to rewrite the RFP and rebid it. Changing the model at this point is destined for failure.
Hancock is still trying to press forward, but it seems an exercise in futility at this point. Time to step back, get commitments first, and then re-bid starting with the idea of what the network will be used for first, not the idea of a network that, when built, will be used.
The reporter here, Ben Charny, knows this subject area well, but I have to disagree with him vehemently when he writes, "It was once thought that municipal wireless networks of all sizes could be supported through the sale of advertisements that appear during the free Internet sessions and the small fee paid by those who want a faster, ad-free Internet service."
The dominant companies in this space never thought that. MetroFi doesn't even think that any more, and they were the only company pursuing sizable networks that used advertising revenue as the main revenue source. MetroFi continues to fund the networks partially through that means, but they also require substantial service commitments to diversify revenue.
In other words, one company may have thought this; none do now.
And, I should remind everyone, even EarthLink declined to bid on Wireless Silicon Valley because they didn't think enough homes were passed relative to the density of the network.