New York City mulls muni-WiFi

New York City--yes, the Big Apple--is considering following in the footsteps of Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans and a host of other cities planning to offer free WiFi to local residents. On Monday city council member Gale Brewer, chairwoman of the Committee on Technology in Government, held a legislative hearing on a proposed bill which would create a special commission to advise Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city council on how the city can get affordable broadband access to all its residents. The commission will learn about the different technology options available and educate the public about them. The vote on the bill is scheduled for December 21. If New York builds out its own WiFi network, it will be the biggest deployment of municipal WiFi in the country and even the world.

"It's likely not a question of 'if' but 'when'," said Farpoint Group's Craig Mathias. "Every major city is going to have some kind of citywide WiFi access. It will become an expectation like electricity or telephone service. But New York is definitely a challenge from a technology perspective. You may not be able to get it in every nook and cranny."

For more on New York's WiFi move:
- read this ZDNet article

ALSO: When in Rome: The Italian capital is looking to deploy a muni-WiFi network in the downtown business district. Report