St. Cloud Sees Muni-WiFi Woes

from the wonky-wireless dept

St. Cloud, Florida, has attracted some attention for being the first place in the US to roll out free citywide WiFi service. One month in, the city of 28,000's 15-square-mile network is hitting some road bumps, with users complaining about dead spots and weak signal strength. It's only been a month, so it's still too early to condemn the network, but the tale does serve as a reminder that despite all the hype surrounding citywide WiFi, it remains something of an unproven commodity, both technically and financially. Municipal WiFi is a compelling idea that offers lots of benefits beyond just simple internet access. But the hype surrounding it is deafening, and it's pretty obvious that these networks are going to have some teething pains, and it's going to be a while -- if ever -- before they deliver all their promised benefits.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2006 @ 6:42pm

    call the city because...

    wolffooo (post 11): People would call the city because they're idiots. They'll probably have a basic understanding that they access their email by using the city internet, so that's who they'll call. Granted, however, it's a free service so they won't be providing tech support.

    The fact that the government wastes a lot of money isn't justification to waste more, it's a reason to attempt to save more.

    Aside from all that: are they expecting to replace the need for ISP's for businesses? I can't imagine that a business is going to use a spotty wifi network that has no support, and no one to call when it goes down. Even home users probably won't use it because of unreliability. I can't imagine they're going to accomplish anything aside from the ability to (sometimes) connect to the internet on-the-go, and if someone wants to do that they could just pay $40 or so a month to use their cell phone provider for a reliable connection, now that broadband is out on mobile phones.


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