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ProductsMunicipal wireless network

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


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]


  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
  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" (PDF). Trilliant, Inc. June 17, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 28, 2009. 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 July 6, 2014, retrieved August 19, 2013
  9. ^ Phillips, Caleb; Senior, Russell (23 May 2007), Unwire Portland Proof-of-Concept Network Testing (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2007
  10. ^ Nonexclusive License Agreement with the City of Portland
  11. ^ Willamette Week Rogue of the Week Archived 2008-01-17 at the Wayback Machine
  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.