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
    Techie, 24 Apr 2006 @ 9:47am

    The citywide WiFi race is really hard to measure. Plenty of big cities in the world are at various stages of implementing WiFi. But when can you say that you have "finished" installing WiFi in a city? There will always be bugs and other problems like signal strength even if the city claims that it has already blanketed the city 100% with wireless Internet access. Constant construction and new buildings/skyscrapers will necessarily continue to effect the quality of WiFi in a city. It will be interesting to see how citywide WiFi will be maintained in the future under these changing conditions.

    On an international note, Taipei is much in the race as well. In fact, it had already started planning a citywide WiFi network as early as 2003. Free Press and Techsploder write about Taipei's citywide WiFi.

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