Thursday, August 30, 2007
Perhaps It Just Wasn't A Good Idea
Municipal Wi-Fi - wherein the city pays to have wireless infrastructure installed because the hipsters love it and because city coffers are overflowing and all existing infrastructure is shining and schools are accredited, amen.

But there's trouble in hipsta paradise in:
  • Houston: EarthLink pays $5 million to delay Houston Wi-Fi buildout:

      A day after EarthLink said it would lay off nearly half its workforce, the company has agreed to pay the city of Houston a $5 million penalty fee for missing its first deadline in building the city's municipal Wi-Fi network.

    First of many happy returns, I bet.

  • San Francisco: S.F. citywide Wi-Fi plan fizzles as provider backs off:

      Mayor Gavin Newsom's high-profile effort to blanket San Francisco with a free wireless Internet network died Wednesday when provider EarthLink backed out of a proposed contract with the city.

      The contract, which was three years in the making, had run into snags with the Board of Supervisors, but ultimately it was undone when Atlanta-based EarthLink announced Tuesday that it no longer believed providing citywide Wi-Fi was economically viable for the company.

    Not economically viable? Dammit, the city will do it anyway!

  • St. Louis: Light poles create delay in rollout of city's Wi-Fi network:

      Still waiting for citywide Wi-Fi in St. Louis?

      It might be awhile.

      Technical delays continue to dog AT&T's plans to blanket downtown, and eventually the whole city, with a wireless Internet network. Mostly, the problems stem from an unexpected obstacle: the humble city streetlight.

    Hey, where did all those light-up lollipops come from all of a sudden? They weren't there yesterday!

Behind schedule, over budget, and ill-conceived: the headlong rush to municipal wi-fi whose useful shelf life will probably be less than the time taken to roll it out proves that public/private projects built around the "Wouldn't It Be Cool" imperative (see also light rail) combine the worst of both spheres. The only thing they do efficiently is to continue to spend taxpayer money at an ever-increasing rate.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."