AT&T has asked the city of Riverside, Calif., to take back the muni-WiFi network the company, along with MetroWiFi, deployed in May 2007.
The city council must make a decision on the request on March 16. While AT&T wants to give the network back without any compensation, the city must pay for the cost of maintaining the network, which provides free service to the city's residents. The city has been hit hard by the economic crisis and is facing severe budget constraints.
The network logs 20,000 users each day and is part of the area's local digital inclusion program serving 3,600 families. The city has to decide on Tuesday whether to operate the network, find a sponsor or shut it down. The city's contract with AT&T bans it from reselling or leasing the network to another operator for a time period of five years, but it is allowed to find a sponsor such as Google to support the costs of providing free WiFi service.
- see this MuniWireless article
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