Space Ramblings

Municipal WiFi Going Down the Drain

A year or so ago municipal wifi networks were the big ticket item and loaded down with more hype than a drunken llama. A year has gone by and Earthlink is trying to jettison its municipal WiFi network business and you can hardly blame Earthlink for it. Municipal WiFi was one of those neat Gibsonesque concepts that sounded great on paper but made no real sense financially. Back during the boom when cities were flush with cash and looking for some insane urban project to dump it into, a municipal wireless network sounded neat. New York City put free WiFi into its libraries and a few city parks but wisely drew the line there. Other cities like Philly though went a little nuts with it and accomplished very little.

Some day in say 2019, most cities will have wifi networks you can easily access by walking down the street, so long as you’re willing to pay, but free WiFi as a business model never made much sense. Google was in part responsible for touching off the madness of free municipal wifi and is now moving on to trying to shove its nose into wireless communications, with results that are likely to be just as disastrous. Google nevertheless has become a trend leader and that means Android is the next big trend to follow lemminglike all the way off the cliff.

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