It's been three years since the Minneapolis city council gave the go-ahead to a muni-WiFi network from US Internet, and nearly 14,000 customers have signed up for the service at $18 to $30 per month. Meanwhile, access to city departments is moving a bit slower.
Even though the city pays $1.25 million annually to be the network's anchor tenant, the city is only getting about $50,000 worth of WiFi services. However, the city is allowed to carry the amount forward to the next year. US Internet said the city can carry over its usage dollars for the full 10 years of the city-company contract.
The slower adoption is partly attributed to poor radio connectivity in some areas so police and fire departments won't switch from their cellular connections to the WiFi network until coverage is better. Other city departments haven't changed their operations to take advantage of the WiFi network. The police would like to use it to provide additional bandwidth that will allow police cars to transmit live video.
US Internet said some of the dead spots in the network are the result of delays in getting permits for WiFi radios on city park land.
- see the Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis proves muni-WiFi model can work
Special Report: Muni-WiFi--Sizzle or Fizzle?