Other Cities Struggle with Wireless

Published August 1, 2007

So-called “citywide” free Wi-Fi service is unavailable in 40 percent of the San Francisco Bay area town of Foster City due to poor coverage, the San Francisco Examiner reported in April. The city, which contracted with MetroFi, had promised residents 95 percent coverage. It blames the coverage problems on the layout of homes in Foster City and the geography of the city.

Meanwhile, Willamette Week Online reported Portland, Oregon’s Personal Telco Project, an independent group of local enterprise users, found the Portland municipal WiFi system was available in just over 50 percent of the Portland area. The system’s proponents had promised 90 percent coverage.

Several weeks later, the city of Portland itself issued a report. Without providing coverage details, it certified the network as functional and operational. The certification study, however, was funded entirely by the city, which has earmarked $10 million for the project.

And the latest news from St. Cloud, Florida is that the town had to replace every antenna on its network due to water damage. WiFiNet News reported the change-out did not cost the city any money directly, but it did require considerable time from city employees.

Steven Titch

For more information …

Jason Goldman-Hall, “Metro-Fi trying to fix Foster City ‘dead zones'” San Francisco Examiner, April 11, 2007, http://www.examiner.com/a-667542~Company_working_to_retool_Foster_City_Wi_Fi_service.html

Nick Deshais, “Portland Wi-Fi Sucks Inside and Out, says independent evaluation,” Willamette Week, March 29, 2007, http://www.wweek.com/wwire/?p=7518

Glenn Fleishman, “Limping Muni Networks,” WiFi Net News, April 10, 2007, http://wifinetnews.com/archives/007544.html