Toledo paper picks up on MetroFi woes: The local paper in Toledo writes about MetroFi's problems in Portland, Ore., and Aurora and Naperville, Ill., and recounts Toledo's history with MetroFi. The Wi-Fi firm originally contracted to build an ad-supported network for the city, but was working on a deal with the mayor's tech head to contract for services worth $2.16m over five years. (This story erroneously states it would "cost Toledo taxpayers" that much money, without mentioning that much or all of the sum would come from existing an telecom/data budget, and be cost conservation.) The newspaper is owned by Block Communications, which also owns Buckeye cable, which originally competed for the Toledo bid against MetroFi, but delivered a bid that didn't answer the spec for city-wide service--partly because Buckeye wondered if it made sense. (The newspaper/cable overlap is disclosed in the article.) Buckeye has installed about 61 hotspots around Toledo.
Cisco, San Francisco Muni test unwired bus: The Connected Bus will run for about a year on a regular route in SF, and offer Wi-Fi to passengers along with touchscreens providing information like current location, arrival times, and connecting transit routes.
Knowzy documents free Wi-Fi at some Calif., Ariz., Jacks in the Box (Jack in the Boxes?): A firm named Ripple, which puts TV broadcasts into the stores, offers the Wi-Fi using Sputnik as the back-end, the site reports. A code on the screen following the word Wi-Fi indicates both that Wi-Fi is available, and the gateway page passcode to gain free access. Two hours' use every 12 is offered.
Balloon-Fi: Space Data Corp. is floating balloons with cell-data transceivers over the southern U.S., with an expectation to extend their "network" further, the Wall Street Journal reports. It notes the rumor that Google may invest or purchase Space Data. The company puts a payload on balloons that it pays farmers and others $50 to launch the balloons at a regular time each day; the balloons each stay aloft for about 24 hours. They pay GPS hobbyists $100 to retrieve the $1,500 transceivers. They're registered to bid for 700 MHz spectrum in the current auction, and it's clear they'd like to offer cell-tower-like service across rural areas that are expensive to connect--but which have unserved audiences.
Cincinnati airport goes free: The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, a major hub for Delta, now offers free Wi-Fi in a large portion of the airport. This is an extension of the local Project Lily Pad, which has attempted to build out free Wi-Fi where useful instead of building a city-wide cloud. Time Warner Cable is paying for the service. (A side note: My wife and I flew with our then-2-year-old son through Cincinnati in 2006, and for some reason, even though we were in the airport about two hours total round-trip, he still talks about the airport.)
Sky Broadband uses easy-to-guess method for default Wi-Fi network encryption: The Register reports that the UK Sky Broadband service sets a default password for a NetGear DG834GT Wi-Fi gateways issued to their customers that's based on the device's MAC (unique network interface) address, and easily derived. A Register states there are about 1m customers using the router model affected. Sky hasn't issued any broad advice to customers to change the password.