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Wireless Networking Hardware

Philadelphia Considering Municipal Wi-Fi 223

sebFlyte writes "The row over Muni Wi-Fi continues as cities and other municipal authorities consider building massive Wi-Fi networks to give lots of people low-cost wireless net access. CNET is running an article written by the CIO for the city of Philadelphia, explaining why she thinks it's time to break the telcos de-facto monopoly and for public agencies to start offering public services." We have previous covered Taipei's efforts along these lines to create a for-pay service
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Philadelphia Considering Municipal Wi-Fi

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  • Wish my town... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by robslimo ( 587196 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:28PM (#11643571) Homepage Journal
    would do something like that.

    Starting the late 90's they were being very public about pushing to the front of being "wired"... even got a Yahoo! "Most wired city" award for 2000. That was all on an effort to get the city ringed with fiber. I guess once they got their high-speed net to all the city buildings and schools, their interest pretty much fizzled, leaving the city-zens still not quite on of the game... I still can't get DSL.
  • Philly Wifi?! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FyreFiend ( 81607 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:37PM (#11643676)
    While I like the idea in general I don't think Philly should doing this. The city has been so broke these last few years that they're closing firehouses and talking of cutting the police force. Once the city gets its budget in order then they might want to look into this. Not before.
  • by SparksMcGee ( 812424 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:37PM (#11643687)
    It seems that the comparatively extravagant cost of free WiFi versus the number of people who can't even even afford a computer in Philadelphia puts into question why this should be a primary initiative. I agree with the goals in principle but wouldn't those tax dollars do a lot towards helping city schooling? Just a thought.
  • Re:Not allowed? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NardofDoom ( 821951 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:52PM (#11643881)
    They have till 2005 or 2006 to get it up. Any network done before then isn't subject to the law that my asshat representative supported.

    As for the law: There's nothing stopping a community organization from building one. I think the public broadcasting model would work for a mesh network: Like it? Donate! Get some companies to sponsor and we're cool. No muss, no fuss, no multi-million-dollar executive salaries or golden parachutes.

    The law's ass-backwards anyway. I don't see anything wrong with local government competing with business. Hell, it'll make them get their shit together and offer something better than 3Mbps down/784kbps up with a dynamic IP.

    I'm jealous of Swedes.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @02:11PM (#11644123) Homepage
    There's only one cable provider here in Iowa City. As a consequence, they charge about 10$ more a month than you'd have to pay if you were in Des Moines (which actually has some competition).

    Monopolies exist; they're real; and they're annoying. I'm not saying that Mediacom is being anticompetitive; I don't have any evidence to that effect, and it may well be that we just don't have a large enough market for competitors to justify the cost of coming in here. But, given that Mediacom has the market to itself, they charge an arm and a leg.

    Companies will charge users whatever they think they can get from them. It's just the way things are. Where I live, there's one cable company, one power company, etc. You don't have choices, and thus you pay a premium. I'd much rather have what is essentially a "nonprofit organization" (i.e., the local government) running it, even if they're less efficient (which I have trouble picturing in this case). Any money that they make either goes into local programs or reduced taxes. So long as they don't subsidize their service, Mediacom would still be able to compete - if they feel they can actually offer a fair price, that is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2005 @02:16PM (#11644177)
    I live in Philadelphia. From the front of my house, I can see 5-8 networks (about half of which are unsecured, but that's another story). From the back of my house, another 5 or so. I'm already having too much trouble trying to find the least-interference-prone channel of 12, of which only 1, 6, and 11 don't overlap with the others. If Philly deploys a city-wide mesh, private networks will have only 2 non-overlapping channels to swim in.
  • Re:Wish my town... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ytsejam-03 ( 720340 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @02:52PM (#11644676)
    I guess once they got their high-speed net to all the city buildings and schools, their interest pretty much fizzled, leaving the city-zens still not quite on of the game... I still can't get DSL.
    Either that, or the cable/telco lobby quitely put a stop to all of the fiber talk. Where I live that same lobby ran this company [] out of business after they managed to run fiber to two local communities, Springville and Spanish Fork. The cities adopted the networks after the company went belly-up, and residents of those communities have had cheap, fast internet connections for the past five years.

    This is Qwest's worst nightmere. Now thanks to this project [] Qwest can kiss their monopoly goodbye. Qwest did [] their [] best [] to kill it.
  • by Yonder Way ( 603108 ) on Friday February 11, 2005 @04:13PM (#11645682)
    And it's a shame that you can't get RCN. I've got it now, and it's the best service I've had (telephone, internet, and cable TV). Their digital cable service actually works with MythTV (having nothing more than a firewire port and a big hard drive on your Myth box)
  • bad engineering (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2005 @05:14PM (#11646440)
    If you look at the statements made by the Philly CIO you can see that there are a huge number of misunderstandings about WiFi technology. To name a few: WiFi is not a self-healing mesh technology. The proposed WiFi mesh technologies are not even close to being a standard. The number of proposed WiFi units to cover the city is not even in the ballpark of reality.

    If you want to waste a lot of money without any results let the government run the program.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.