The muni-WiFi market implodes

Headlines across the country announced the implosion of the muni-WiFi market as EarthLink, one of the service's largest cheerleaders, pulled back on its initiatives and some cities scrapped their WiFi plans. EarthLink is now looking for strategic alternatives for the business, aka sale, and several municipalities have canceled planned projects. The problems: Usage is low in many cases, scalability has been a challenge, devices and capabilities have been found to be wanting and business models promising free community access have proven not to be be viable, for the most part.

Is this a sign that the muni WiFi market has failed or is the industry settling into a more rational period of deployment based on securing cities as anchor tenants rather than free WiFi access for the masses? We are seeing examples of muni-WiFi done right when the service is used to better municipal services.

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