Muni-wireless enjoyed a number of rollouts across the U.S. and many cities in the E.U. began exploring it as an option. With the influx of Homeland Security money, U.S. rollouts had an easier time getting the ball rolling: Just take a look at the FCC's idea for a nationwide public safety wireless network. Cities within the E.U., however, were looking for way to launch networks that provide for public safety and social inclusion, but also other services and applications that may lead to profitability. One such application, which seemed to recur again and again at The Wireless Cities event in Cannes, France last month, was the effect of a muni-wireless networks on parking meters. When a meter is full, and therefore out of order, it can ping the appropriate technician, which leads to more parking money. It's a small example, but requires so little bandwidth and could add up to a substantial collection of previously lost revenue. As Lynnette wrote above, muni-wireless is currently struggling to find a way to make the business case a more profitable one.
Advertising based muni-wireless deployments also received a considerable amount of press in recent months. Google, of course, has heralded that business model with its imminent deployment in San Francisco and the just launched Mountain View network. Microsoft made the headlines when it decided to join the fray and take on Google with a similar ad-based approach to muni-wireless networks. Attendees at The Wireless Cities event seemed skeptical of ad-based models, but time will tell, of course.