Politics make for strange bedfellows, but so also, it seems, does muni-WiFi. CNet News.com reports that Sunnyvale, CA-based start-up MetroFi, one of the three leading muni-WiFi operators, is partnering with the venerable AT&T to bid on the 65-square-mile Riverside, CA network. Note that the Riverside bid talks about offering only 512 Kbps downstream at no cost, compared with all the other MetroFi's bids and operations, which offer customers 1 Mbps downstream. That higher rate will be available from AT&T at $20 per month (upstream rates are paltry 256 Kbps in both cases; most paid services offer 1 Mbps symmetrical).
Now, the Riverside bid is only the beginning of what may well be a wonderful relationship. The bigger news is that MetroWiFi, in what must be considered a major coup for the company, is teaming with AT&T Enterprise Services division to design and operate metro-WiFi in several cities. MetroWiFi is already working on building networks in Portland, OR, and San Jose, CA.
MORE: FCW's John Pulley offers a useful taking-stock discussion of the state of muni-WiFi.