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Chicago Cancels Municipal Wi-Fi Plan 93

Posted by Zonk
from the wave-goodbye-to-the-broadbands dept.
thatshortkid writes "The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a proposed plan for municipal wi-fi in Chicago has fallen apart. The story cites contract disputes and the falling price of residential broadband as reasons for the talks collapsing. 'Chicago officials had intended that the city would offer infrastructure, but no cash, to a carrier that would use its own funds to build the network here. EarthLink and AT&T Inc. submitted proposals to the city, but after months of negotiations the parties were unable to reach agreement. The companies sought a commitment from Chicago to be an "anchor tenant," agreeing to pay to use the Wi-Fi network to support city services, but the city declined ... Even if Chicago declines to back a municipal wireless network, city residents soon will gain more Internet connection options. Sprint Nextel Corp. is building a wireless WiMax network here that is due to offer service next spring.'"
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Chicago Cancels Municipal Wi-Fi Plan

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  • It's Like Water (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:13AM (#20398003) Journal
    So I'm going to try & compare this to water to citizens, but I recognize it's not the greatest comparison--people need water to survive, most people don't need wi-fi to survive, etc.

    Back in the day, when a town was being settled, they would have a well. I think it still works this way in most rural parts of third world countries. You thirsty? Walk down to the well & pull up a bucket.

    What did you pay for that facility? Probably very little--if anything at all. Someone fronted the stone and labor to drill the well the whole bucket rope system was a one time cost.

    Years later, people got sick of this ... why? The water wasn't the greatest quality, you had to actively go to the well, it might be limited during dry spells, someone devious could poison the water, etc. So we now pay the city to ensure that water is delivered us via a system of tubes and that it is potable.

    The attempt for AT&T or Earthlink to blanket wi-fi is kind of like the last step in this equation. Except there currently are no town wells (with the exception of some establishments implementing free wi-fi). I think we need a 'town well' style implementation before we advance to full blown municipal need. There's plenty of people out there right now getting by just fine with no wi-fi, they don't know why they should pay $2.87 a month (that's just a guess, by the way) in taxes for something they don't think they need. Likewise, there were probably settlers drinking from streams that didn't think an intricate pipeline of water to every home was necessary.

    So what's the solution here?

    Enter mesh networks [wikipedia.org], something similar to how the OLPC is supposed to function. I submitted a story a while ago about Meraki [slashdot.org], a startup that is threatening Google's push to blanket San Francisco in wi-fi. They are basically giving out solar powered routers for people to mount in their homes that will become part of a mesh network.

    It's kind of like the town well approach: low start up initial cost that someone pays, at first it will be limited and a bit cumbersome, it will probably be very vulnerable to attacks, the people that don't think they need it will still get some low quality service for free, etc.

    Will city wide mesh networks be the final answer & solution to the municipal wi-fi demand? I don't know. I would doubt it since I wouldn't see it working in the countryside very well and so I think the ultimate municipal wi-fi will indeed be local government run and include massive coverage via some sort of technology I don't know enough about.

    I think it's necessary to have this intermediate stage because it will give businesses, people & institutions the power to experiment with the unlimited possibilities that a city WAN would provide. I think wi-fi as a municipal service is a great idea for everywhere but I acknowledge that I make a lot more than the average citizen of the world.

    If I were Chicago or a large city government, I would be seeking the attempts of companies like Meraki that want to build mesh networks and look at ad hoc networks as a temporary or starting solution. They may not be the best but it something to experiment with and learn from before you implement the final solution.
    • Best analogy ever.

      ... is delivered us via a system of tubes ...

      Ted Stevens would be proud :)

    • Re:It's Like Water (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:30AM (#20398265) Homepage Journal
      No it isn't
      I just don't see the need for WiFi EVERYWHERE. If you want to compare it to water then fine. Are there public water fountains on every block? No. Is there a public water fountain even at every park? Probably not. Why have a city wide WiFi system? Hot Spots will get you 99% of the benefit for 1% of the cost. There was a Network admin for a college here on slashdot talking about this. His school was demanding that the entire campus have WiFi coverage. For the life of him he couldn't figure out why WiFi coverage out by the trash dumpsters was important. Why not just have it in the class rooms, Dorms, Student Unions, Library, and the Quad?
      Add in Sprint bringing WiMax and yea it just doesn't seem like a good idea.

      I could see WiFi and WiFi Mesh networks as a great solution in rural areas of the Midwest. Lots of silos and grain elevators and very few hills. But City Wide WiFi nteworks? Why?

      • But City Wide WiFi nteworks? Why?

        Hi. The Internet needs to be everywhere, and accessible in every and any way. WiFi is a very low cost solution for spreading the Internet around. Because the Internet has things like Wikipedia, and Make, and blogs, and maps, and train/bus schedules, and VOIP -- there is a need for the Internet to be ubiquitous. WiFi is a stone-knives-and-bearskins method of making the Internet available everywhere.

        Why do you need WiFi near the dumpsters? That's where your systems admini
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Fx.Dr (915071)
        Say what you will, but when USI Wireless opened up the Minneapolis Municipal Wi-Fi for emergency service after the 35W bridge collapse, it was an absolute godsend. Especially in my neighborhood, which is currently in the middle of a territory dispute, and the only provider (Covad) charges $100/mo (seriously) for a 1.5/Mbps line - well beyond the reach of what are, by-and-large, poor & infirmed residents living off Social Security.

        Perhaps you're thinking too narrowly about net use. It's not strictly a
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          I am not saying that city wide networks are bad at all. Or that WiFi is bad. I am saying you don't need to blanket the entire city all the time with wifi.
          I am all for city and towns putting in their own fiber networks if the commercial vendors are not stepping up to the plate. I am also for ending CATV monopolies.
          • by skarphace (812333)
            Haven't you ever been walking down the street, or in a park, and have an argument with a friend that only wikipedia could answer?

            "Did you know that before mating bald eagles will fly really high, lock their talons and free fall to the ground?"

            "Bullshit"

            "Look at this [wikipedia.org]."

            Now if only I could really link words in my speech.
      • You have no vision.  None.

        Go read some science fiction, which you obviously have not, and you'll have a much better idea of the vast potential truly "universal" access will have.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          "Go read some science fiction, which you obviously have not, and you'll have a much better idea of the vast potential truly "universal" access will have."

          Science Fiction is fiction. I still don't have my flying car.

          What everybody forgets is someone has to pay for it. WiMax mobile will hopefully solve the need for mobile access for a much lower cost and fiber is a better solution for fixed locations.

          • Yes, because flying cars haven't happened, it's not a valid point.  In fact, very much science fiction has happened (the internet comes to mind), and very much more will as well.  The point is, you can find ideas there, for something to do with this thing, which you clearly lack the imagination to conceive.

            Just trying to help brother out.
            • by LWATCDR (28044)
              You really are putting the cart before the horse. I have probably read more science fiction the the average person. I am a big fan of Clarke, Asimov, Bear, Niven, and goodness knows who else. But when you are talking about the cost of putting in an 802.11b/g/n/ network vs the benefits today you can see use real science. Even WiMax is a bit of a waste. All wireless network connections are going to very limited compared to a fiber optic connection. Wireless is good for the last ten meter problem not the last
    • by DogDude (805747)
      You say that "most people don't need wi-fi to survive". Actually, I'd say that nobody needs wi-fi to survive. In fact, wi-fi is really useless for anything important. There's simply no reason that our government should get into the business of becoming ISP's.
      • by Applekid (993327)

        There's simply no reason that our government should get into the business of becoming ISP's.
        Unless they want a first-chance lookie-look at your traffic. Just shout "terrorism" and millions will be devoted to setting it up and very few of those who fit the bill will care.

        Internet traffic via cell and private hot spots are fine... snooping and raising taxes are the only motivators I can think of for a city-wide WiFi.
      • by nolife (233813)
        I would love for the government to get into the last mile (or wi-fi in this case). This way, we get the lines put in for about the same price and could potentially have competition for the service over those lines. Without a local governing body managing the last mile, we will forever be stuck with what we have now which is a monopoly with mediocre service. In the US, we basically have a government run last mile now but by convention, that same government chooses one company to run it AND provide the ser
      • by skarphace (812333)

        There's simply no reason that our government should get into the business of becoming ISP's.

        I don't think about it as them becomming ISPs. I think it would, in fact, be a much better way of solving the issues that brought monopoly agreements into place and allow much more competition.

        Let's say municipal or county government laid and owned the infrastructure(just the layer 1 part of the network). You would allow for the prevention of insane ammounts of cables running down your streets on poles. That

    • It's a good analogy, but seems to be lacking in common sense to a degree. How many people actually need wi-fi? I'd wager damned near close to nobody. It's a luxury, a convenience that helps some people, but is not really a necessity. The purpose of cities is to focus on providing necessities -- trash removal, water, roads, polic, schools, etc. If there's a large enough tax base, then cities can also supply some 'wanna-have' items -- like parks, ice skating rinks, swimming pools, etc. But these aren't n
      • by indiejade (850391)

        How many people actually need wi-fi? I'd wager damned near close to nobody. It's a luxury, a convenience that helps some people, but is not really a necessity. The purpose of cities is to focus on providing necessities -- trash removal, water, roads, polic, schools, etc.

        Perhaps no specific person needs wi-fi, but it seems as though it is one of those things that, when provided on a large scale, lowers the cost of the service for everybody: both public-works people and private citizens. How? Economies

    • It's Chicago. What do you expect? Don't get hung up on all the details. It all comes down to greed and payoffs. Big Chicago he-man payoffs.

      At least with a wi-fi public rip-off project no civilians are going to end up getting killed, like what happened with the big Mafia payoff 'Big Dig' project in Boston, or the 'look the other way, shut up, and be happy' corruption of the Minneapolis. And wi-fi isn't going to be an ultra-high-tech masturbatory death machine for greedy military psychopaths
      • by timster (32400)
        I must say, I'm intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Honestly, this stuff is great.

        By the way, my experience is that wi-fi doesn't work well under Windows generally. For once I don't think this is Microsoft's fault, exactly, as the problem seemed to be mostly awful drivers with labyrinthine custom configuration programs.
    • by davetufts (75317)
      Back in the day, when a town was being settled, they would have a well. I think it still works this way in most rural parts of third world countries. You thirsty? Walk down to the well & pull up a bucket.

      I don't think you understand how water works.

      I live in a small town in Southern Maine. 5 minutes from Portsmouth, NH; 45 minutes from Boston or Portland, Maine. I don't consider my town a rural part of the third world, but my water supply works like you've stated. (with the exception that modern wells a
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Spy Hunter (317220)
      Municipal WiFi is a stupid idea. It's completely impossible to get the kind of blanket fast, reliable coverage people should be able to expect from their Internet connection. WiFi's range is just too short and buildings attenuate the signal. You'd have to put a router every 50 feet over the entire city, including inside private property! Furthermore, mesh networking sucks; always has and always will. It multiplies the packet loss and latency and divides the bandwidth for each hop you go through.

      Municip
  • Falling Prices? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dsginter (104154) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:16AM (#20398037)
    Comcast hasn't dropped my broadband price a single time (they have raised it, however). That said, has anyone actually figured out exactly *how* to get the $10 DSL that was the FCC requirement of the BellSouth Merger [techdirt.com]?

    With every day, I become more disgusted with the corporate greed stranglehold. Even more so, I amazed that consumers largely don't care.
    • by garcia (6573)
      With every day, I become more disgusted with the corporate greed stranglehold. Even more so, I amazed that consumers largely don't care.

      If they don't care that their President allowed the secret and warrant-less tapping of their private communications, they certainly aren't going to care about rising broadband costs or the secret bandwidth limits that Comcast enforces.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude (805747)
      Even more so, I amazed that consumers largely don't care.

      Well, you are saying that your prices have not dropped, yet you still use it. Congratulations on being one of those consumers who while maybe care, still continue to pay for a service you're not happy with. That's the way to stick it to the "greedy corporations!". Keep paying them for a service you're not happy with. I'm sure that they take extra time to read your angry letters to them... right after they get finished cashing your check every m
      • by dsginter (104154)
        Well, you are saying that your prices have not dropped, yet you still use it. Congratulations on being one of those consumers who while maybe care, still continue to pay for a service you're not happy with.

        That's quite the red herring.

        My entire point was that I would switch from Comcast to AT&T's $10 DSL (including subscription to a land line for which I have no need) ***if I could actually buy it***.

        The corporate greed comment was directed at the fact that the muni-wifi network was shot down by pressur
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pilferer (311795)
        ..still continue to pay for a service you're not happy with.

        You make it sound like we've got options! Where I live in Chicago, I can go with Comcast for $65/month (after taxes), or get slightly-better-than-ISDN speeds with AT&T, for $40-something. If I want high-speed internet, I'm stuck with Comcast! You can't "vote with your dollar" when one company has a monopoly!
    • That said, has anyone actually figured out exactly *how* to get the $10 DSL...

      Have you called them and asked? What was their response?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dsginter (104154)
        Have you called them and asked? What was their response?

        I'm not a current customer (because I have no need for a land-line) so this complicates things a bit (needlessly) as I only get to speak with their sales department, who haven't been informed of any $10 DSL plans (huge surprise, since you can't even find it on their website).

        My goal is to use the land line as a free gateway to my area code for one of the distributed/free VoIP projects.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      With every day, I become more disgusted with the corporate greed stranglehold.

      So, what do you propose instead? That YOU get to mandate what services are provided, and that we are all charged taxes (pushed through a notoriously inefficient beaurocracy) to support those services - which, in turn, are built and provided by private sector contractors and infrastructure companies ANYWAY... but which now everyone is forced to pay for, whether they want it or not? Your urge to make us all participate in funding
      • by dsginter (104154)
        So, what do you propose instead?

        Oakland County Wireless [oakgov.com]

        This is the largest muni-wireless project in the world (910 square miles). It costs the taxpayers *nothing* to have free wireless internet access. It does not prevent people from having cable internet or DSL at home. It only adds an option at zero cost.

        I live in Oakland County and this is for real - I can get basic internet connectivity at no charge (128kbps symmetric) or pay extra for faster speeds.

        Next question please.
        • by ScentCone (795499)
          It costs the taxpayers *nothing* to have free wireless internet access ... at no charge (128kbps symmetric) or pay extra for faster speeds

          To stick with the municiple water supply analogy, that's like saying you can get free water, as long as you don't mind taking a shower, watering your lawn, doing your laundry, and everything else based on what you can get through a drinking straw. Real-life, participate-in-the-economy, good-enough-to-telecommute service (what most people would call "real" access) IS NO
          • by dsginter (104154)
            Sorry - I meant "at no additional cost" to the taxpayers.

            Read the website - it outlines this very subject.

            Basically, they simply opened some existing county property to a wireless provider under the following requirements:

            1) free 128k/128k wifi access must be provided to residents
            2) pay-for access can be offered in order to subsidize the free access

            Other than the project management costs, the county has not paid for any infrastructure. They simply opened county p
          • by dsginter (104154)
            From the website:

            Does Oakland County plan on owning and operating the wireless network?

            NO, Oakland County will not own or operate the wireless network. Instead, Oakland County will create a public/private partnership(s) by providing private businesses access to the assets in which Oakland County taxpayers have already funded. In exchange, the partner(s) will be required to provide free wireless internet access to residents, businesses and visitors within Oakland County. In addition, private sector partners
            • by ScentCone (795499)
              As for your use of the term "useful", I think that you need to reevaluate the impact of 128kbps available over 910 square miles. Being able to open up a notebook in the middle of the park and prove that a tomato is a fruit by botanical definition and a vegetable by US import definition is useful to me.

              Don't get me wrong! I can and do get a LOT of work done over that much bandwidth (you can certainly run a perfectly good terminal server session that way). I just want to be clear that such a service (at th
    • With every day, I become more disgusted with the corporate greed stranglehold. Even more so, I amazed that consumers largely don't care.
      There you go. Cause and effect, all in two sentences.

       
  • by Patrick Cosmos (1148183) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:17AM (#20398061)
    Chicago has a systematic inability to manage anything under its control, from the transit system to the hospitals. Everything is out of money and the whole state just devolves into an endlessly looping state diagram of FIGHT --> SHAM RESOLUTION --> FIGHT.

    If Chicago managed a WiFi infrastructure, it would manage to cost the taxpayers $400B and give everybody cancer within a week or two, and even then the aldermen would find a way to stick up for it so long as Daley approved.

    • by navygeek (1044768)
      Sadly I cannot disagree. Ordinarily I'd blame Tom Cruise or some other Scientologist clown, but really, this time I have to put blame where it belongs - on Chi-town's corrupt, mobbed up Mayor. Dick (I know it's Richard) Daley for the loss.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by tompaulco (629533)
        Right on. Someone should raid his mansion in the middle of the night with a backhoe and carve out huge Xs in his driveway.
    • Seriously - try living somewhere else. I work in Baltimore after living in Chicago for 20+ years and I would kill to have Chicago's level of inefficiency and ineptness compared to the crack-tards running this city.
  • I live in Chicago and regret to hear this. Comcast, Chicago's largest broadband provider, pillages its customers and I'd love to see some competition!

    • It's not municipal wi-fi, but then that's not really what you're complaining about.

      I live in Chicago and don't use Comcast. I use Speakeasy myself - not the cheapest, but I've been very satisfied with them. Two others that come to mind off the bat are AT&T and DSLExtreme, both of which offer really pretty low pricing in comparison to Comcast.

      • by twiggy (104320)
        Define "pretty low pricing in comparison to comcast"..

        By the time I'm done paying for my phone line I'll never use (I'm mobile only), AT&T gives me either REALLY slow speeds compared to comcast for not that much cheaper, or just about the same price for faster, but still slower than comcast-speed DSL.

        Oh, that and everything I do that goes through AT&T is shipped to the NSA. Maybe it is with Comcast too.. but at least we don't know for sure... yet... like we do for AT&T.
    • by putzin (99318)
      I'm a local resident too (go Cubbies) and even with competition, I'm paying out the nose for RCN 5MB/384K service. Seriously, 5 down, and 384 up? Whose bright idea was that? Try to find the 384 part on the webpage, I dare you. I think DSL is still better than cable, if not for the price.

      However, Sprint is going to be rolling out their WiMAX service soon, very soon. I don't know what it will cost, probably on the same level as Comcast/AT&T, but the benefits will be pretty big, especially before everyone
  • Public Works (Score:1, Insightful)

    by packetmon (977047)
    I can't see how a public works effort such as this would work because I'm looking at it from the admin/engineer side of things. So here we have Chicago creating a network that will be funded how. Firstly officials there wanted freebies, they didn't even offer a bone. So having worked at a provider, I can say the provider's first mode of thinking was "Why should I". Think about it, the city charging $20 the provider gets what? Why would the provider dish out all that cash when all it takes is a cluster of pe
    • by Lysol (11150)
      Good points, but why is it $10/person? When you consider economies of scale the price goes down the more people are involved. Of course, the more people the more bandwidth, but that's besides the point.

      Sure this stuff costs money, but if I'm paying $70/mo for a 6/768 dsl line (yah, not the most ideal price), then for a million people why should it cost $20mil? I mean, we could get roughly 285k dsl lines for $20mil at my price. That doesn't make sense. Most of it, and I'm sure you'd agree, would go into WAPs
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by packetmon (977047)
        You state: Internet should be right up there with power, water, transportation, etc. It's already a given that it's a key component of growth and future development. Incorrect. The world works fine without the Internet. We were working fine in the 70's and 80's. We just work more faster and have become more productive with it. However most would say we've hit our plateau with the Internet. As for your comment on: "We need to start treating it more like that instead of a big giveaway to the monopolies that w
  • yeah... (Score:2, Funny)

    by intthis (525681)
    i guess it was safe to assume that the wi-fi system wouldn't work... mainly because they had been putting up signs saying it was coming for the last year...

    in a similar vein, i believe they've been putting up signs for the last 2 years proclaiming that we have, in fact, won the 2016 olympics... which clearly isn't going to happen either...

    i guess the moral is, don't trust signs in chicago... i mean everyone has already learned to ignore the traffic ones... how hard could it be?
  • This is GREAT news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joshv (13017) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:28AM (#20398249)
    If this had gone forward we would have spent something like $100 million, the work going in no-bid contract to Friends Of Daley, and ended up with a few "hot zones" in inconvenient parts of the city, with coverage conspicuously absent from any area covered by a commercial provider.
    • by navygeek (1044768)
      Aww, you say that like Daley's on the take or something. There's plenty of evidence to support that he's not dirty. *pockets a $5,000 check signed by the Friends of Daley*
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Next election I'm using all my votes to throw the current officials out.
    • by putzin (99318)
      Be careful, Daley's illiterate croney grunts have literate croney grunts working for them now (the machine is learning). They can probably read this, and being very liberal, just may.
  • Big telcos/cable companies have shown over the past decade that they're not interested in anything that benefits the customer nor anything that progresses technology. Hence we have multiple examples from other countries where they have 100mb net access or statements from AT&T's CEO where he said "no one want's $10 internet access". They are only interested in maintaining the status quo. The dream of supply siders that the market will decide has definitely died on this one because the market is stagnant,
    • You should not be surprised that the San Francisco WiFi idea ended up going nowhere. The problem with left leaning idealists, and there are plenty of those in San Francisco, is that they do no generally understand how money works and thus they are surprised when their "good ideas" collapse like a house of cards. The idea was doomed to fail from the start in the United States for the following reasons:

      1) The fiber backbone networks in the United States that carry most of the traffic traversing the Interne
  • All techy people from Chicago will find what they want [theregister.co.uk] in the historic English city of Norwich [wikipedia.org].

    Peter

  • Sooo... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @10:12AM (#20398907) Journal
    [...]and the falling price of residential broadband as reasons for the talks collapsing.

    Would like to see where prices go over the next couple of years now that a competitor has been eliminated...
  • Disappointed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CompMD (522020) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @10:24AM (#20399119)
    As a Chicagoan (born and raised) I am deeply disappointed. Comcast rapes its customers there for mediocre (at best) service, and they are the biggest game in town.

    I don't live there any more, I live far, far away in a smaller city in Kansas. We have our own problems, just like any other city, but with the cooperative efforts of our city commission and a non-profit organization, we figured out how to make a successful, inexpensive, functional, municipal wireless ISP [lawrencefreenet.org] using a mesh network that covers the entire city.

    Why can't anyone else?

  • San Francisco is mired, Chicago gives up but Wireless Oakland [oakgov.com] chugs along. One of my ex-Michigander Bay Area friends can't believe that I have free wireless but the Googlenet (or whatever SF plans) is still not working.
  • Here, In Winston-Salem, the Municipal WiFi project is getting off the ground and into testing as of this very week.
    http://www.muniwireless.com/article/articleview/63 31/1/23/ [muniwireless.com]
  • by athloi (1075845) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @10:54AM (#20399589) Homepage Journal
    http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/archives/2007/08/t he_earthlink_wifi_saga_waiting_for_the_other.html [chron.com] Interesting commentary from Houston Chronicle technology writer Dwight Silverman. His suggestion is to socialize municipal Wi-Fi and have the city run it.
  • Rio Rancho, NM (where Intel made Pentiums) went this route beginning a few years ago. It's had mixed success, with the city threatening to rebid and other actions. One of the allegations made in a local paper (maybe not online, not sure, but you can try AbqTrib links from googling "rio rancho wireless broadband" and getting a trial access or something - I won't) was that the contractor was using home-grade rather than industrial-grade components in severe-environment areas. The following link discusses t
  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew AT zhrodague DOT net> on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @10:56AM (#20399619) Homepage Journal
    Pittsburgh failed to create a WiFi network in '02 a while back. It cost a bunch of money for almost nothing done. Actually, some lady had her picture in the paper, and there was some hooplah for a day or two.

    Then they hired some out-of-state company to install a little hotzone downtown, with two-hours of free access. This was after the other local players tried to bring some sense to whichever committee that was.

    In fact, all of the local WiFi businesses in Pittsburgh have all left the city for the west coast, and other cities -- because they can't get any traction, or generate any local business.

    Then this guy [shadysidewifi.com] gets a bug up his ass, and starts installing Meraki boxes in his neighborhood. Didn't cost a fortune, didn't take forever, and he didn't have any help. Funny how one man with some money and initiative, can outperform a corporation funded with millions of dollars. Shadysidewifi.com [shadysidewifi.com]

  • This is the start of the Wi-Fi turf wars. Earthlink is going to host hotspots inside AT&T's territory. "They can't muscle their way in here. Everyone knows that we own the south side." Disputes will be settled with tommy guns. There'll be secret meetings with the leaders of the five telecoms. That's Chicago for you.
  • The other way around (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mapkinase (958129)

    and the falling price of residential broadband as reasons for the talks collapsing

    Price is falling BECAUSE of the talks as one of the reasons.
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:54AM (#20400531)
    Just the fact that you are chatting happily on Slashdot indicates that you have Internet access, and you will likely not be a customer of any government-subsidized WiFi. The people who are NOT speaking here are the potential beneficiaries. Think more altruistically. Just because YOU don't need it, doesn't mean that other people don't.

    That is like saying, "Why donate food and clothing to the homeless? I have all I need."

  • WiMAX is the way to go. WiFi isn't truley designed for long-range mobile access. Yes, I have seen plenty of WiFi mobile solutions, but in reality they just aren't reliable. WiMAX mini-PCI cards in notebooks is definately where we'll be at in a couple of years. Metropolitan area broadband deployment over WiFi is simply not the best solution, and is backwards thinking in my opinion. WiFi should stay at home and the work place for private networks and small hotspots. There is no reason why license free W
    • by uncreativ (793402)
      I have to whole heartedly agree. Wifi just isn't reliable. Wimax is the way to go. I've seen municipal wifi up close and personal--more than I wish I ever had. Here in the midwest, Chicago has pulled out, Milwaukee may never get off the ground and Madison's wifi network has fizzled.

      I really think a technology that does not exist in everyone's home, and different frequencies from home devices, needs to be set aside for the purpose of making such services reliable. Wimax is also a far superior technology for
  • by ACMENEWSLLC (940904) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @12:56PM (#20401437) Homepage
    We're trying to offer WIFI at two motels, a campus, and a 3 mile run to a farm using wireless bridging on non 802 technology.

    My god, support's a pain. Wifi router drops. Some moron opens up bit torrent and kills the pipe. Some idiot decides to run his own Wireless bridge and run on the same channels we use, but he's packet capturing the data.

    The utilities decide to unplug our fiber. The AP quits handing out DHCP. The ISP goes down. Why can't I get Wifi in this one room? The news crew bounces microwave into our wifi bringing it down. The WIFI gets hit by lightening. The UPS battery needs replaced. The WIFI gets hit by construction workers, causing the directional Yagi to be aimed just wrong enough.

    I can't imagine trying to support the entire Chicago area with Wifi.

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