Free WIFI Based on the Current Information Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


Based on the current information regarding free Wi-Fi being offered in various municipalities, it is impossible to make any generalized statements either pro-or con. There have been some successful implementations and some very unsuccessful attempts at implementation. Generally, those that failed were vast, sweeping projects that failed to consider the limitations which would inevitably lead to their demise. Those with a more limited scope were often more successful. To properly assess the viability of such an ambitious project, each interested municipality must conduct an objective review of its immediate and long-term requirements and make an evaluation based on its needs rather than jumping on the band wagon just because it's the trendy thing to do ( Opsahl, 2009). It has been proven that municipalities can benefit by using Wi-Fi, but the scope should follow a narrower definition in the beginning, and it should be spearheaded by whomever (public/private) can do the best job. It appears that the best job is primarily being done by municipalities because they are focusing on the community's needs rather than pie in the sky profits (Opsahl, 2009). However, don't count out the private sector. If there is money to be made, private industry will find a way to do it.

The most noteworthy failures during the initial push for free city wide Wi-Fi were in cities where the proposed coverage areas were extremely large given the limitations of Wi-Fi and the technology at that time. In 2007, "big city municipal Wi-Fi projects in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Portland, and New Orleans all hit the skids when the limitations of Wi-Fi became apparent." Essentially, the business plans underestimated the amount of equipment necessary and the associated expenses. To affect the type of service originally envisioned many more devices were needed and even when installed, there were problems due to interference from buildings, parking garages, etc. It was difficult to obtain a signal inside buildings and some areas which meant that many people continued to pay for an IPS which offered faster and more reliable access. Because fewer people utilized those services that actually made it to a test phase, private operators were unable to recognize the profits they initially forecasted from advertisement revenue. With added expense and less revenue, these huge municipal city Wi-Fi projects that were funded by the private sector hit major stumbling blocks. Most of those which were city funded essentially suffered the same fate.

Recently, however, many of these cities have downscaled the initial plans and revamped to become successful on a smaller scale. Houston, for example, though not city wide, now has many Wi-Fi hot spots. The current Wi-Fi situation in Houston "grew out of a pilot program that used excess bandwidth from the city's wireless parking meters to provide three months of "test coverage" in the downtown business district. Things worked out well: Houston received a Broadband Technology Opportunity (BTOP) grant to provide additional public broadband access" (Kylie, 2010). There…

Sources Used in Document:


Opsahl, A. (2009, April 27). Municipal Broadband Efforts Succeed Despite Wi-Fi Meltdown.

Retrieved December 20, 2011, from Public CIO website:

Churchhill, S. (2009, December 18). Top Ten Municipal WiFi Stories of the Decade. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from website:

Kylie. (2010, November 29). Best Cities For Free WIFI. Retrieved December 20, 2011, from TechKnowTimes website:

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