The list of cities and towns embracing muni-WiFi is growing. The purpose of these networks is to extend broadband access to neighborhoods and populations which otherwise may not enjoy such access, and make downtown areas more attractive to businesses and visitors. Indeed, a new study from Boston-based consulting firm Strategy Analytics says that WiFi networks planned by these cities and towns may provide Internet access to as many as six million homes within five years-- about 5 percent of U.S. households.
However, James Penhune, director of the Strategy Analytics broadband media and communications division, notes these WiFi networks may be better than dial-up Internet access, "But [they are] slow compared to the DSL service that is only slightly more expensive and usually offers better quality." With prices for commercial broadband services continuing to drop, only a small number of households will be likely to rely on these "low-cost" or even "free public networks" as their main source of online access.
For more on the state of muni-WiFi
- see Gene J. Koprowski's Technewsworld report
MORE: The following cities are jumping on the muni-WiFi bandwagon:
- Naperville, IL. Report
- Pleasanton, CA. Report
- Honolulu's Chinatown district. Report
- As of this coming Monday, Foothill Transit bus riders on six of of the company's Line699 buses which go from Montclair to downtown Los Angeles will be able to connect to the Internet. Report
- WiFi coverage is expanding in Buffalo: The new zones in Tonawanda's Gateway Park, Wilson Harbor, Niagara Falls, and Youngstown join seven hot spots already operated by BuffaloNiagaraWiFi.org in downtown Buffalo. Report