There was an interesting article in New York Times today about the doom of the municipal Wifi network. The article points out the flawed the business model as one of the primary reasons of failure. In an article that I wrote with my colleagues for last year’s Global Mobile Roundtable in Los Angeles, I pointed out the danger of applying the notion of “universal access” that was originally developed simplistic utility service to a complex and dynamic digital information infrastructure such as broadband wireless network. Therefore, it is not just the failure of business model, but the failure of underlying philosophy. As we argued in the paper, the notion of universal access needs to be expand from a technical concept to a much broader socio-technical-economic concept. A business model that reflects such complexity will be the one that can sustain this type of complex infrastructure, which can do so much good for the public.
One thought on “Demise of Municipal Wi-Fi network”
Just to add to this… I remember what Harold Hambrose of Electronic Ink said about Wireless Philadelphia.
He wanted to stop the DSL service at his home and move to Wi-Phi, but was counseled against because Wi-Phi wasn’t designed to be as powerful. And the city establishment was going to bring an inferior service to its residents, some of whom would be having their first brush with the Internet!