Municipal Wi-Fi Is As Trendy As Curbside Recycling - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile
Commentary
11/21/2006
10:12 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Municipal Wi-Fi Is As Trendy As Curbside Recycling

There was a time that curbside recycling was the check-the-box status symbol for a progressive city, and cities did a lot of trial-and-error before they found models that actually made environmental sense. City-wide Wi-Fi is the new recycling. The trials are starting. Get ready for the errors.

There was a time that curbside recycling was the check-the-box status symbol for a progressive city, and cities did a lot of trial-and-error before they found models that actually made environmental sense. City-wide Wi-Fi is the new recycling. The trials are starting. Get ready for the errors.Microsoft has joined the crowd of those ready to experiment with muni Wi-Fi, There are more than 300 such projects in the works in the United States. Cities today are in a race to embrace, and there isn't much of a track record for the systems, in terms of business models or technology.

Business Week describes it as a battle for eyeballs: " Content providers who capture the growing municipal Wi-Fi market will be in a better position to enjoy higher traffic to their sites and greater customer loyalty."

To me the efforts by Microsoft and Google sound more like wireless Petri dishes: a place for them to experiment with how wireless ads will be consumed and delivered. The companies and their service provider partners all talk about the prospect of free, ad-supported Wi-Fi. But ad-sponsored infrastructure seems like a losing deal. Remember the dot-com companies that promised Internet access and a PC for the price of looking at a lot of ads? If ads-for-access was such an eye-popping business model, why are we all peeling off a few $20s every month for our broadband connections?

After the business models and novel partnership shake out, don't be surprised if they end up looking fairly conventional, and not a whole lot different than today's: infrastructure companies make their money on fees from subscribers for a fast, reliable Internet connection, and content providers get their money from ads.

The one thing you can bet on is that we're all going to, very soon, have some way to regularly make a wireless data connection. Will it be muni-backed Wi-Fi, cellular, or some other variation? I'd be guessing if I said I knew. And so are backers of the current spate of muni Wi-Fi projects.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Industries with Job Openings Right Now
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/27/2020
Commentary
How 5G Rollout May Benefit Businesses More than Consumers
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/21/2020
News
IT Leadership in Education: Getting Online School Right
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/20/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
Slideshows
Flash Poll