Municipal wireless network
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Municipal wireless network (Municipal Wi-Fi, Muni Wi-Fi or Muni-Fi) is the concept of turning an entire city into a Wireless Access Zone, with the ultimate goal of making wireless access to the Internet a universal service. This is usually done by providing municipal broadband via Wi-Fi to large parts or all of a municipal area by deploying a wireless mesh network. The typical deployment design uses hundreds of routers deployed outdoors, often on poles. The operator of the network acts as a wireless internet service provider.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Finance
- 3 Potential externalities
- 4 Cities with municipal wi-fi
- 4.1 Existing
- 4.2 Planned
- 4.3 Canceled or Closed
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Such networks go far beyond the existing piggybacking opportunities available near public libraries and some coffee shops. The basic premise of carpeting an area with wireless service in urban centers is that it is more economical to the community to provide the service as a utility rather than to have individual households and businesses pay private firms for such a service. Such networks are viewed as capable of enhancing city management and public safety, especially when used directly by city employees out in the field. They can also be viewed as a social service to those who cannot afford private high-speed services such as DSL. When the network service is free and a small number of clients consume a majority of the available capacity, operating and regulating the network might prove difficult.
In 2003, Verge Wireless, a subsidiary of CamSoft Data Systems, Inc., a small company from Baton Rouge Louisiana, forms an agreement with Tropos Networks to build one of the first municipal wireless networks in the downtown area of the city. . Although Tropos technology is primarily focused on public safety, Carlo MacDonald, the founder of Verge Wireless sees it differently. He pitches to Tropos president David Hannah, that the technology is best used to provide public access to Internet wirelessly, providing cities with a way to attract and improve economical development and developers to build mobile applications that can make use of faster bandwidth not available at that time on current mobile devices. Verge Wireless goes on to build networks for Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and other areas, allowing cities to bypass AT&T and other large telecoms in hopes of bringing the technology first to their residents. Knowing what is coming, MacDonald is focused on the applications that will be able to run on his networks providing fast internet to any device. Some applications include, Wireless Security Cameras, Police mug shot software, and location based advertising.
The technology to allow this continues to advance. In 2007, companies with existing cell sites offered competing paid high-speed wireless services where the laptop owner purchased a PC card or adapter which uses communications based on EV-DO cellular data receivers or WiMAX rather than 802.11b/g. High-end laptops in 2007 featured built-in support for these newer protocols. WiMAX is designed to implement a metropolitan area network (MAN) while 802.11 is designed to implement a wireless local area network (LAN).
Within the United States, providing a municipal wireless network is not officially recognized as a priority. Some have argued that the benefits of public approach may exceed the costs, similar to cable television.
The construction of such networks is a significant part of their lifetime costs. Usually, a private firm works closely with local government to construct such a network and operate it. Financing is usually shared by both the private firm and the municipal government. Once operational, the service may be free, supported by advertising, provided for a monthly charge per user or some combination. Among deployed networks, usage as measured by number of distinct users has been shown to be moderate to light. Private firms serving multiple cities sometimes maintain a single account for each user thus allowing the user a limited amount of portable service as they travel among the cities covered by the firm. As of 2007, some Muni WiFi deployments are delayed as the private and public partners involved in planned networks continue to negotiate the business model and financing.
In the build-out of such networks, radio communication is used both for the Wi-Fi service and for the "backhaul" or pathway to the Internet. This means that the nodes only need a wire for power (hence the habit of installing them on power and light utility poles). This "all radio" approach means that nodes must be within range of each other and form a contiguous pathway back to special aggregation nodes that have more traditional access to the Internet. Nodes then relay traffic, somewhat like a fire-bucket brigade, from the laptop to the aggregation node. This limits the way in which the network can be grown incrementally: coverage starts near the aggregation point and, as the mesh grows, new coverage can only grow out from the edge of the mesh. If a new, isolated area is to be covered, then a new aggregation point must be constructed. Private firms often take a phased approach, starting with one or a few sectors of a city to demonstrate competence before making the larger investment of attempting full coverage of a city.
Google WiFi is entirely funded by Google. Despite a failed attempt to provide citywide WiFi through a partnership with internet service provider Earthlink in 2007, the company claims that they are currently working to provide a wireless network for the city of San Francisco, California, although there is no specified completion date. Some other projects that are still in the planning stages have pared back their planned coverage from 100% of a municipal area to only densely commercially zoned areas. One of the most ambitious planned projects is to provide wireless service throughout Silicon Valley, but the winner of the bid seems ready to request that the 40 cities involved help cover more of the cost which has raised concerns that the project will ultimately be too slow-to-market to be deemed a success. Advances in technology in 2005–2007 may allow wireless community network projects to offer a viable alternative. Such projects have an advantage that as they do not have to negotiate with government entities they have no contractual obligations for coverage. A promising example is Meraki's demonstration in San Francisco, which already claims 20,000 distinct users as of October 2007.
In 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo also provided free wireless to select regions in the United States. Yahoo's free WiFi was made available for one full year to the Times Square area in New York City beginning November 10, 2009. Microsoft made free WiFi available to select airports and hotels across the United States, in exchange for one search on the Bing search engine by the user.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2011)|
Unintended externalities are possible as a result of local governments providing Internet service to their constituents. A private service provider could choose to offer limited or no service to a region if that region's largest city opted to provide free Internet service, thus eliminating the potential customer base. This could prevent other municipalities in that region from benefiting from the services of the private provider. The smaller municipalities would at the same time not benefit from the free service provided by the larger city. Overuse could be another issue. If usage of the publicly provided network became heavier than existing private options network overload issues could arise, forcing the municipality to invest more heavily, thus spending more revenue, on infrastructure to maintain the existing level of service. This issue could be compounded if private providers begin exiting a market as mentioned above.
Cities with municipal wi-fi
- Luxor, Egypt - pilot, paid service - tourist areas, TE Data
- Johannesburg - City of Johannesburg municipality is currently rolling out free Wi-Fi to many suburbs as well as the city center.
- Cape town- the City has made free Wi-Fi available in many of the city's parks and public spaces.
- Ahmedabad, India, Baroda - Reliance Jio has started free 4G services in select areas such as Alkapuri, O.P.Road, Vasna Road, Karelibaug, Iskon mandir, Manjalpur, Nizampura and Subhanpura
- Balanga City, Bataan, Philippines - free, limited to downtown and several tourist attractions only
- Bangkok, Thailand - free service for Bangkok Citizen. Service provided by True Corporation.
- Calbayog City, Samar, Philippines (downtown area only)
- Greater Noida, Noida, India — Paid, operated by Maksat Technologies (P) Ltd, Local ISP.
- Bangalore, India - Free. Covers M.G. Road and Brigade Road.
- Hong Kong - Most are subscribed, paid services, but free service in selected governmental facilities is also available
- Kathmandu - Paid services through multiple wireless ISPs such as wlink, NTC
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - free, Wireless@KL - Covering major commercial areas.
- Malang, Indonesia - Indoken Wireless offers roaming connectivity. T-Fi Beta offers connectivity on Public transportation. Free access at resource centers.
- Penang, Malaysia - Named Penang Free Wi-Fi, it started in 2009, currently the Wi-fi service has covered some commercial spots in the state, mostly on Penang Island.
- Sarawak, Malaysia - paid, deConnexion (previously available as free trial throughout the state) - available in most business districts in major towns in the state of Sarawak.
- Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt - pilot, paid service, tourist areas, EgyNet
- Singapore, Singapore - free/paid, Wireless@SG
- Taipei, Taiwan - free service "Taipei Free Public Wi-Fi" and paid service 'Wifly' by Q-Ware Communications, Inc.
- New Taipei, Taiwan - free service in specific public areas in the City, including indoor public services areas, hospitals, and libraries.
- Hạ Long, Vietnam
- Hội An, Vietnam
- Da Nang, Vietnam
- Huế, Vietnam
- Bologna Italy - free, limited to three hours a day, hotspots in historical city center and around
- Blackpool, UK - free, 1.6 km area around city centre Wireless Blackpool - Wireless Blackpool Leaflet
- Brașov, Romania - free wifi over the entire city deployed into existing 5G network by worldwifizone.com of Ireland, over 40,000 daily users at peak. Facebook login.
- Bristol, UK - free, 3 km area around city centre
- Brussels, Belgium UrbiZone covers a number of institutions for higher education and some city or regional administration buildings and public hospitals.
- Chişinău, Moldova - Currently two metropolitan Wi-Fi networks exist: StarNet and Orange. StarNet's coverage area includes most of the city's central streets and residential districts as well as parks and other public recreational places. Company offers paid and free access to its network, free access has limitations on time of use. Orange coverage area includes most of city's mass transit areas and buss stops. Network access is limited to Orange subscribers only.
- Comiso Italy - free, limited to one hour a day, hotspots in historical city center and around
- Dublin, Ireland - free wifi in certain areas of city centre. More areas to be rolled out soon. At the moment free wifi is available beside the Dublin City Council Civic Offices, at Wood Quay, at City Hall and at St Patrick's Cathedral.
- Geneva, Switzerland - free, city-operated
- Helsingborg, Sweden - unrestricted, free and city-operated in 177 locations around the town. SSID: helsingborg
- Helsinki, Finland - free, city-operated network in the city center
- Heraklion, Greece - free, city-operated network, covers major city squares and roads with over 80 access points.
- Lagkadas, Greece - free, city-operated, covers almost all the city of Lagkadas, it is expanding to cover more towns in Lagkadas municipality.
- Leiden, Netherlands - free, community project covering city and region Wireless Leiden
- Lidköping, Sweden - unrestricted, free and commercially operated. Available in town square. SSID: Lidkoping
- Liverpool, UK - paid service, covering central areas.
- Luxembourg, Luxembourg—paid, currently covering downtown and Central Station Hotcity
- Kaunas, Lithuania - free, in represental street of the city.
- Kyiv, Ukraine - free wifi in certain areas of city centre and Passenger Railway Station.
- Milan, Italy - free, limited to two hours a day, hotspots in historical city center and around. Free internet is also available at the Milano Malpensa airport.
- Moralzarzal, Spain - free for inscribed citizens, limited time for visitors.
- Moscow, Russia - paid service, Golden Telecom
- Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK
- Norwich, England - free, city center and university, 18-month pilot Openlink (Norwich,UK)
- Oulu, Finland - free - panOULU
- Plovdiv, Bulgaria - free throughout the city center and the historical part, along with in many of the city`s outskirts.
- Paris, France - free in many parks and in municipal libraries, museums, and public places (7 AM to 11 PM or opening hours, renewable 2-hour sessions)
- Roman, Romania - free, deployed by Minisoft Romania as part of MetroWireless free internet access project, paid by advertisements, covers much of the city, expanding to nearby villages
- Rzeszów, Poland - free, city-operated, with hot-spots located on public schools participating in the project
- Samobor, Croatia - membership/free and unlimited 24/7 for members, deployed and maintained by NGO SMBWireless, with inter-connected hot-spots located all over the wide city area, placed on houses and buildings of the NGO members.
- Tallinn, Estonia - free Wifi covers not only the capital city Talinn, but most of the entire country, [as of 2011] thanks to the Tiigrihüpe (Tiger Leap) project.
- Trondheim, Norway, paid/free network in city centre
- Vatra Dornei, Romania, 85% of city covered with free wifi deployed by worldwifizone.com using free guest user and Facebook connect.
- Velika Gorica, Croatia - free, city center and nearby villages as a part of project "e-Gorica"
- Venice, Italy, free to residents and city users, network of hotspots in historical city centre and mainland
- Vienna, Austria - free service in the Vienna International Airport
- Wrocław, Poland - free service Miejski Internet, in few places, renewable 1-hour sessions
- Zrenjanin, Serbia - free, city center only
- Pančevo, Serbia - free, city center only, with time limit session.
- Calgary, Alberta - paid service operated by WestNet Wireless, first City Wi-Fi in Canada
- Cambridge, Ontario - paid service provided by Atria Networks for various locations throughout Waterloo Region, free at Central Public Library.
- Fredericton, New Brunswick - free, Fred-e Zone
- Iqaluit, Nunavut - Community Free Access and Paid Service provided by Meshnet, and service of mnemonics.ca
- Kitchener, Ontario - paid service provided by Atria Networks for locations throughout Waterloo Region, free at Kitchener Public Library branches.
- London, Ontario - free (pilot project) on Dundas Street, provided by London Downtown Business Association
- Mississauga, Ontario - free, Wireless access at Mississauga Libraries, Community Centres and Arenas
- Moncton, New Brunswick - free, Service provided by Red Ball Internet of Moncton. Wireless access available at Arenas and Moncton's Public Library. It was also the first city in Canada to provide wireless internet on its public transportation fleet.
- Montreal, Quebec - free, community supported Ilesansfil
- Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - free, city center and campus
- Prince Albert, Saskatchewan - free, city center and campus
- Quebec, Quebec - free, community supported ZAP Quebec
- Regina, Saskatchewan - free, city center and campus
- Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec - free service in selected parks, municipal buildings and commercial center, provided by ZAP Monteregie
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - free, city center and campus
- Sherbrooke, Québec - free, limited to downtown, provided by ZAP Sherbrooke
- Shawinigan, Quebec - free service, limited to downtown. City-operated.
- Stratford, Ontario - paid service, covers entire city.
- Toronto, Ontario - free service provided by Wireless Toronto and the Toronto Public Library system for locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area; paid service from Toronto Hydro's One Zone.
- Waterloo, Ontario - paid service provided by Atria Networks for locations throughout Waterloo Region, free at Waterloo Public Library branches.
- Arcata, California
- Akron, Ohio SSID: "ConnectAkron"
- Albany, New York Albanyfreenet
- Amherst, Massachusetts - free service in downtown area
- Anderson, Indiana Anderson WiFi
- Bethany Beach, Delaware Beach and Boardwalk free WiFi
- Binghamton, New York - free service,
- Bristol, Virginia
- Burlington, Vermont - City wide WiFi hotspots through Burlington Telecom 
- Cambridge, Massachusetts - free (pilot), through the Cambridge Public Internet (CPI) Initiative
- Charleston, South Carolina - free public wi-fi in Marion Square  by the 
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Clearwater Beach, Florida - free service,
- Cleveland, Ohio—free service in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood
- Corpus Christi, Texas - paid service, Earthlink
- Denver, Colorado - Free Wifi in Downtown Denver.
- Dublin, Ohio - City Wide Wifi.[HighSpeedAir.com]
- Dubuque, Iowa - free, city-operated, provided Mediacom covers downtown area since 2006.
- Elk Grove, California
- El Paso, Texas - Free Wifi in Downtown El Paso.
- Escondido, California - free service in downtown area and Public Library.
- Fenton, Michigan - free or paid service in downtown area and public parks, through Tri-County Wireless, Inc.
- Gahanna, Ohio- city wide coverage.[HighSpeedAir.com]
- Gerlach, Nevada - Gifted to the public by Black Rock City LLC.
- Greensboro, North Carolina - Free Wifi in Downtown Greensboro, Greensboro Historical Museum, The Depot, and others.
- Harrisburg, North Carolina - free, Time Warner Cable
- Hattiesburg, Mississippi Free wifi in the downtown area of Front, Main and Pine Streets and the Oaks Cultural District.
- Hollywood, Florida - Johnson Controls, Sling Broadband Wimax deploy municipal Wi-Fi network for wireless automated meter reading (AMR), public safety and free Wi-Fi service for residents. Muni Wireless
- Houston, Texas - free service in downtown area and selected neighborhoods around the city; free service also available in all Houston Public Library and Harris County Public Library branches
- Honolulu, Hawaii - free, Tri-Net Solutions LLC
- Indianapolis, Indiana -free AT&T WiFi downtown
- Kennesaw, Georgia - free, City of Kennesaw WiFi - available in city parks and other areas 
- Kenosha, Wisconsin - Low Cost Paid WiFi located in Downtown Kenosha, service provided by Infinite Technologies LLC 
- Kenosha, Wisconsin - Expensive Lake coverage pre-approved by Kenosha County Board withoug pre-approval by the City of Kenosha was declinded by the City 2/13/2014. The ISP service the County was attempting would undermine the existing small business owner, whom has found it a challenge for the city to accept any attempts to grow the wifi.
- Kissimmee, Florida - free, Bright House Networks
- Lafayette, Louisiana
- Lawrence, Kansas - free, Lawrence Freenet, not-for-profit company that works in conjunction with the City of Lawrence and local internet providers 
- Linden, Michigan - free or paid service in downtown area and public parks, through Tri-County Wireless, Inc.
- Madison, Wisconsin - paid, only covers central part of city.
- Marion, Illinois - Free. Initially just the downtown square but plans to expand to Public Safety.
- Maywood, California - Free. Initially just the business corridors, now city-wide.
- Miami Beach, Florida - Free, covers most of the city outdoors.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota - paid, USI Wireless
- Mountain View, California - free (no longer operating) - Google WiFi
- Naperville, Illinois - free, downtown area only, known as "napernet"
- Newton, North Carolina - free, downtown area 
- Pacifica, California - paid service, PacificaNet
- Peachtree City, Georgia - free at two parks and the public library/City Hall plaza -
- Philomath, Oregon - free 300kbit/s access, paid tiers. Serves city limits: also has APs in downtown Corvallis.
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - free downtown 2 hours per day
- Plattsmouth, Nebraska - free in all public buildings (Court House, Public Library, City Hall, Community Center) and Main Street
- Ponca City, Oklahoma - covers the whole city
- Powell, Ohio - Free, covers downtown
- Riverside, California-access via main street corridors
- Rochester, Minnesota - Downtown in Peace Plaza, near the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota Rochester\
- Rockport, Maine
- San Jose, California - Free in downtown area
- Santa Clara, California - Free, outdoors in most areas of the city
- Santa Monica, California - Free, outdoors in most areas of the city
- Skokie, Illinois, - Downtown and park areas
- Southaven, Mississippi - paid service, city-operated, branded as Magnoliawave
- Spokane, Washington - two free hours/day, paid after.
- Statesville, North Carolina- free access
- Storrs, Connecticut - used for students of The University of Connecticut
- Springfield, Ohio - free, downtown and Clark State Community College campus
- The Dalles, Oregon - free, via Google grant to downtown and key event areas. City-operated.
- Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - Day pass, monthly service, or even pre-paid wireless data cards are available
- Williamsburg, Virginia - free, limited to Merchants Square
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina - free, limited to downtown. City-operated: no technical support.
- Warwick, Massachusetts - paid service, municipally-operated
- Yazoo City, Mississippi - Paid network. Branded as Yazoo Wireless, Provided by CYTEC
- Yorktown, Indiana - Free, limited to downtown
- Ocala, Florida - Free, Downtown Square
Richardson, Texas - Free, Limited to city residents
- Guadalajara, Jalisco - Free, 150 parks and municipal areas. 1 hour continuous connect and 2 hour connection time allowed per day. In operation since 2011. Installation and operation is municipal government funded. A few of the areas are provided with free electrical outlets to charge / use your device.
- Mérida, Yucatán - Free. Most major city parks and other areas. Provided by Axtel and Telmex. Usually also provide standing tables with power outlets. The parks are identified by "parque en linea" (online park) signs and branding of the utility providing the connectivity. The SSID is usually "park en linea".
- Adelaide, Australia - AdelaideFree_WiFi is a contiguous network available throughout the CBD, provided by Internode
- Auckland, New Zealand - Citywide network based in all popular areas across Auckland including CBD and Waterfront  from Tomizone.
- Perth, Australia - paid, RoamAD-based metro wide coverage in the CBD by metromesh
- Taupo, New Zealand, paid/free large RoamAD-based zone in tourist area by Kordia Metro WiFi
- Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, prepaid access and free 1 hr daily, available at many locations region wide by NOW
- Wellington, New Zealand - Free Wifi at the Waterfront, CBD & Airport
- Aparecida, Brazil Free service
- Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- La Plata, Argentina - free, city center only
- Buenos Aires, Argentina - free, without registration, 120 spots for all over the city
- Sud Mennucci, Brazil—free, limited to downtown. City-operated.
- Miraflores, Lima Peru Free service, various spots over the district. City-operated.
- Stellenbosch, South Africa Free service. Town centre online since February 25, 2012. Coverage to be increased to whole town.
- Northpine, South Africa Paid. WISP and media delivery services as well as video surveillance focused on the suburb. Community social portal for information sharing, collaboration and local business partnerships. Proof of concept to be expanded to neighbouring areas.
- Tel Aviv Downtown and later north part as well.
- Makati, Philippines
- Mumbai, India
- NOIDA, India
- Mexico City, Mexico free, coupled with new surveillance system (planned 2008)
- Tecumseh, Ontario
- New York, New York - A private-public initiative called LinkNYC will replace pay phones with free wireless hotspots delivering up to gigabit speeds to every borough in the city.
- Cleveland, Ohio - Wireless will cover Ward 13 of the Old Brooklyn Neighborhood
- Oakland County, Michigan - free 128 kbit/s, paid for high speed, Wireless Oakland
- Sacramento, California
- Silicon Valley, California Joint Venture Wireless Project - free, prototyped for Palo Alto and San Carlos by 2008, Silicon Valley Metro Connect.
- St. Louis Park, Minnesota - Set up, but not yet deployed due to contracting disputes.
- Tampa, Florida - Tampabayconnect.net
- Waukesha, Wisconsin
Canceled or Closed
- Baton Rouge, United States
- Chicago, United States
- Charleston, South Carolina, United States (on hold)
- Dublin, Ireland
- Groningen, Netherlands - Municipal Wireless network with open service model, covering entire city, first parts operational, 2010–2012 expanding to 54sq km
- MetroFi - free with advertisements, deployed to 10 cities in the western United States, closed in 2008
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin - paid service, Midwest Fiber Networks, target date: March 2008
- New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
- Parramatta, Australia
- Portland, Oregon, United States
- Puerto Montt, Chile
- San Francisco, California, United States
- Sydney, Australia
- Tempe, Arizona - paid service, Kite Networks
- Dubrovnik, Croatia - closed when the new major took over
- Switched mesh
- Wireless community network
- Municipal broadband
- List of deployed WiMAX networks
- Implementing public WiFi at a fraction of the cost of deploying “carrier-grade” systems
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