Another Muni WiFi Network Gets An Early Thumbs Down

from the good-idea-bad-execution dept

Earlier this month, the city of Corpus Christi, Texas launched its municipal WiFi network, which its vendor said was the largest of its kind, covering more than 100 square miles. However, like some other muni WiFi projects, early reviews don't sound too encouraging -- complaints echoed earlier this month in Portland as well. It's the same sort of thing early users in other cities have reported: weak signal strength, low speeds and difficulty connecting. Many of these problems occur when people try to use the services indoors (as one does), highlighting one of the drawbacks of using WiFi for this type of application: it doesn't penetrate buildings well, particularly when the router's at some distance away. Many of the network vendors say users need to buy repeaters to overcome this, something that takes away some of the "free" aspect of these networks, as well as something that takes away from their attraction to visitors. While we remain bullish on the general idea of municipal broadband, it's still not clear at all that WiFi is the best way to deliver it. Many of the muni WiFi "success stories" raise as many questions as they answer, and the truth of how well these networks are working remains pretty muddy. Again, municipal broadband is an idea with a lot of merit, but it looks like a lot of muni-WiFi rollouts are based on the wrong reasons, and are possibly just using the wrong technology.

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  1. identicon
    Rick, 26 Jan 2007 @ 1:10pm

    Corpus Christi WiFi RIP

    I have another update on the Corpus Christi WiFi system. I was talking with several people at work and they say where they live, in three different parts of Corpus Christi, the CC Network has been dead for almost three days. They can "connect" at high speed with great signals and nothing comes out the other end! One guy even told me he set up under a router and nothing.

    What happens is you will connect and then it brings up a "prontonetworks" authentication page where you agree to terms, etc. That doesn't even come up anymore as I guess prontonetworks is not so "pronto" anymore. It is amazing that prontonetworks would point this out as one of their "success" stories. They must be on a different planet! The people who made this monster are located here:

    It is interesting to note that people are calling this Mayor Henry Garrett 's boondoggle and the mayor's folly. Along with this wast of money and some other things I think a lot of people are going to vote against this guy. The way it is working now across the city it is going to take millions of dollars to get this thing to work!

    It's so sad when people get taken like this as the taxpayers foot the bill. Shame on the leaders who approved of this mess! This is a DOA WiFi network.

    "Rest in Peace" Corpus Christi WiFi

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