MetroFi

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MetroFi
Founded 2002
Products Municipal wireless network

MetroFi was a provider of municipal wireless network service in several cities in the western United States.

History[edit]

MetroFi was founded in 2002 by Chuck Haas, who helped start Covad, and Pankaj Shah, in Mountain View, California.[1] Investors included Sevin Rosen Funds, August Capital, and Western Technology Investments. Funding of $9 million was announced in April 2004, as well as an "Investors' Choice" award at the Dow Jones Wireless Ventures private equity conference.[2]

MetroFi announced conventional Wi-Fi wireless Internet access to municipalities in September 2005 at the MuniWireless show in San Francisco.[3][4] It began offering free, advertising-supported, unencrypted, low-bandwidth wireless Internet access in December 2005 in parts of its local Silicon Valley area.[5] In most of its service areas it provided an unencrypted, advertising-supported "free" service as well as an encrypted (using Wi-Fi Protected Access), ad-free "premium" service for approximately $20/month. During 2006, its data rate was restricted to 1 Mbit/s downstream and 256 kbit/s upstream. Coverage and performance of the premium and free service was otherwise identical. MetroFi also provided fixed-wireless service.

The company planned to use wireless mesh network technology from SkyPilot,[6] and the Webwise targeted advertising service from Phorm.[7]

Cities covered, according to the MetroFi Web site, included:[4]

The Riverside announcement included a partnership with AT&T announced in July 2006.[8]

A test of the ability to get a connection in outdoor areas within 500 feet of an access point in the Portland proof-of-concept network in the early spring of 2007 showed about a 58% probability using a standard 30 mW, low-gain client device. The report concluded that the probability the network was providing a connection to those devices in 90% of outdoor areas, as called for, was 2 in a billion.[9] The Portland network was less than 30% complete, and as of October 2007 further deployment halted. The contract with Portland required MetroFi to complete the network by August 2009.[10] A group monitoring the Portland network estimated that the network provided a 90% probability of getting a connection outdoors in about 4% of the city in late 2007.[11][12]

On May 15, 2008 MetroFi announced that it was seeking buyers for its networks.[13] Having failed to find a buyer, it scheduled and performed a shutdown of its network on June 20, 2008.[14] MetroFi offered to sell its Portland network to the city.[15] However, in October 2008, assets of the Portland network were seized by the city as abandoned.[16] Santa Clara acquired the MetroFi network in that city to support its Silicon Valley Power utility.[17] It redesigned and expanded service in 2012.[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Todd Wallack (April 19, 2004). "Santa Clara ready for wireless / MetroFi to finish one of largest Wi-Fi networks in nation". SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle). Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "MetroFi Receives ``Investors' Choice Award at Dow Jones & Co.'s Wireless Ventures 2004; Recognition Comes on the Heels of Company's $9 Million Series A Funding". Press release. April 27, 2004. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ "MetroFi Launches Wireless Broadband for Municipalities". Press release (Metrofi). September 29, 2005. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Official website via archive.org
  5. ^ "MetroFi and City of Sunnyvale Launch First Free Advertising-Sponsored Community Wi-Fi in U.S". Press release (Metrofi). December 5, 2005. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Case Study: Free Wi-Fi Access in Silicon Valley". Trilliant, Inc. June 17, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ Cade Metz (August 13, 2008). "Phorm secretly tracked Americans too". The Register. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ Marguerite Reardon (July 21, 2006), "AT&T, start-up team in citywide Wi-Fi bid", cnet news, archived from the original on November 5, 2006, retrieved August 19, 2013 
  9. ^ Phillips, Caleb; Senior, Russell (23 May 2007), Unwire Portland Proof-of-Concept Network Testing, archived from the original on 26 June 2007 
  10. ^ Nonexclusive License Agreement with the City of Portland
  11. ^ Willamette Week Rogue of the Week
  12. ^ Russell Senior (January 5, 2008). "MetroFi’s Portland network slipping into unmitigated decay?". Archived from the original on April 22, 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ "MetroFi Plans Market Exit: Sale or Shutter". May 15, 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  14. ^ Mike Rogoway (May 29, 2008). "MetroFi sets date to turn off Bay Area networks". Oregon Live. The Oregonian. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  15. ^ "MetroFi may turn off Wi-Fi for Portland, Ore". KGW. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Portland Seizes MetroFi Muni Wifi Gear". Virgo Publishing, LLC. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  17. ^ "Why did the City of Santa Clara acquire a WiFi network?". Santa Clara Metro WiFi web site. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ Christopher Mitchell (January 15, 2012). "Santa Clara Prepares to Re-Launch Free Wi-Fi Network". Community Broadband Networks. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  19. ^ Carolyn Schuk (January 15, 2012). "Free Wireless Broadband Makes Santa Clara Better Place to Live and Do Business". Santa Clara Weekly. Retrieved August 18, 2013.