"Muni Wi-Fi" covers a lot of different types of nets. But the common understanding of a Wi-Fi "blanket" that would give residents low-cost, wireless Internet access (and spark economic development booms, bridge the "digital divide," and create world peace), instead of using DSL and cable links, seems to be terminal.
Anchorage, Alaska, Corona, Calif., and Chicago all cancelled muni Wi-Fi plans. San Francisco's plan floundered and finally failed under political controversy and EarthLink's decision that the political and contract headaches just weren't worth it.
EarthLink itself created a shockwave
in the market early in 2007 when, reporting a $16.3 million 2Q loss, it put on hold all future muni Wi-Fi contracts while it reassessed the business. Finished nets in Lompoc, Calif., Milwaukee and Taipei, Taiwan were reported to have won far fewer subscribers than planned.
But cities may refocus on wireless as, essentially, a tax-funded enterprise net for public safety/first responder applications and
for mobile city workers