Muni WiFi Doesn't Look So Impressive Now -- But That Should Change
from the aligning-incentives dept
That's the crux of the matter at the moment, though: so many of these networks don't seem to be providing very good service to residents. They're plagued by reports of connectivity problems, particularly when people try and use the service inside their homes. The providers' most common response is that users need to buy a repeater to improve indoor coverage -- and while those don't carry a huge cost, the fact that they carry any cost at all doesn't jibe with many people's expectations of a "free" service. Many people might expect nothing less from a government-offered service, and further expect the WiFi networks to wither away. However, the public-private model being used here should be the saving grace. The companies involved have an incentive to make the service work: not just contracts guaranteeing a minimum level of service to the city, but the need to run profitable businesses. That's going to be hard if the networks provide such bad service -- so it will have to change. As for the technology these companies will come to rely on, that remains unclear as WiFi still looks like it may not be up to the task in its current implementation.