Tech giants, telecoms fight over muni-WiFi

The fight for municipal WiFi networks has turned into a battle between tech giants -- Intel, Texas Instruments, Dell, and others -- and the established telecoms, with frustrated municipalities and rural communities flocking to the side of the vendors. Across the US, large cities and small towns are inking deals with vendors and service providers other than their established telecoms to launch broadband wireless networks. Vendors like Intel are backing these networks for one reason: More broadband equals more PC and handheld sales. Studies have shown that consumers who have broadband buy more computers and handheld devices.

Established telecoms like Verizon and SBC are opposed to the networks because they do not want other service providers competing with them, often using parts of their networks to do so. However, without these municipal wireless efforts, it is not clear if many areas across the US will be able to get broadband access.

For more on the growing debate over municipal WiFi:
- go to this piece from today's Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)