First, it was the poles; then the performance; then the lawsuit: Now, the settlement. The city of St. Louis Park, Minn., wanted to build a city-owned Wi-Fi network that would cope with the problems of its dense canopy. They chose a vendor, unfortunately, that had never built a network using the technology that the vendor chose to use.
The network required 16-foot tall poles that were originally rather unsightly. And 400 poles would be needed city wide. Citizens were revolted and did revolt; a new design for the poles reduced their ugliness, one can see from photos, but the network--solar powered to boot--never achieved the performance required under the contract, the city said.
Last December, the city moved to terminate its contract and later filed a lawsuit. The settlement signed by Arinc and approved by the city a few days ago calls from Arinc to pay $1m, and grant ownership of about 8 miles of fiber run by Arinc along with related gear. The city will be responsible for the estimated $150,000 cost to remove the equipment from poles and take the poles down, but the Wi-Fi nodes and solar panels go back to Arinc. (Which will sell them on eBay, most likely.)
Arinc claimed at various times that it had performed the tasks for which it was contracted, and that interference was beyond its control. Given that there's an incredibly successful network nearby in Minneapolis that appears to have suffered from few or none of the problems in St. Louis Park, it's hard to credit that. (Minneapolis paid nothing for the network, but is paying $1.25m a year for 10 years for services.)
St. Louis Park is thus left without a network, with at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in hard costs and staff time that lacks recompense (as the settlement covers only expenses after the network started to be built), and with a bunch of fiber they say they have no particular plan for.