Covad tests muni-WiFi waters

There's a twinkle of hope for the beleaguered Silicon Valley Network, whose backers have ambitious plans to blanket Silicon Valley with a massive WiFi network. Covad Communications, with assistance from Cisco, has agreed to build a test network for the project in one square mile of downtown San Carlos. However, Covad, which has been wirelessly looking for ways to extend the reach of its broadband services, hasn't made any long-term commitments. Other technologies, such as 700 MHz or Clearwire's WiMAX service could turn out to be more viable options for the region.

Backers are hopeful that if Covad decides to proceed with WiFi, the company could provide badly needed money and leadership for the project. In December, Azulstar, the company tapped to build and operate the system, backed out and is now working on specialized applications on the network. Not surprisingly, the massive WiFi network is behind schedule. The promised test networks and model agreement for local governments aren't finished. The initiative, backed by a group of cities and private companies called Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force, want to build a sprawling muni-WiFi network that would provide 2.4 million people in a 1,500-sq.-mi. with WiFi coverage. 

For more about Covad's involvement with Silicon Valley Network:
- read this article from The Mercury News