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
    chris, 9 Apr 2007 @ 7:08am

    Earthlink Wifi Anaheim Network

    The Earthlink WiFi network in Anaheim is terrible, the system just does not work for most of the area. Earthlink told me repeatedly that I have service here, but I can only get a -95db signal, their equipment needs a -75db signal to work. The system only works if you can see the a/p on the light pole and have a direct line of sight to it. Most people in Anaheim refuse to use the system because of its high cost and signal problems. Last month the whole city wifi system was down for almost a week and Earthlink's Indian tech support refused to acknowledge the problem. I am interested in participating in a class action lawsuit in California against Earthlink for their deceptive billing and advertising practices. My prediction is that Earthlink will be in Chapter 11 within the next year for lack of customers.

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