Despite EarthLink’s exit from the market, municipal wireless is alive and well in the U.S., mostly in small-to-midsize cities, and it’s beginning to spread to Europe, said Esme Vos, founder of MuniWireless. Vos said the predominant economic model today is for the municipality to guarantee a minimum annual contract for municipal services to provide an economic anchor for the network. It then can sell excess connectivity to businesses and private individuals. She said that municipalities find this attractive because they can realize several benefits from municipal Wi-Fi with bottom-line efficiency improvements that save money in normal operations, as well as top-line service improvements, particularly to public safety and emergency services. It’s common, for example, for municipalities to install wireless water and sewer meters and eliminate the expense of sending out meter readers.
[SOURCE: Computerworld, AUTHOR: Bert Latamore]