03:17 PM

Nine More Municipal Wi-Fi Networks Slated For Closing

MetroFi once had big plans for Portland, Ore., as it intended to cover the city's 134 square miles with an ambitious ad-supported deployment.

The municipal Wi-Fi meltdown is continuing as MetroFi reported that it plans to vacate the muni Wi-Fi field. The company has Wi-Fi networking deals with nine cities, including Portland, Ore., its flagship operation.

The company's chief executive, Chuck Haas, announced Friday MetroFi's decision to sell the networks or, if there are no buyers, then to close the networks down.

MetroFi once had big designs for Portland as it intended to cover the city's 134 square miles with an ambitious ad-supported deployment. Microsoft even got involved and worked to prepare a suite of Portland-oriented applications.

But, like most municipal Wi-Fi deployments in the United States, the Portland deployment never got very far off the ground.

"MetroFi's network never reached beyond downtown and close-in eastside neighborhoods, and even there it failed to perform well," wrote a reporter in The Oregonian. "The project didn't attract the advertising MetroFi hoped for, and the company gave up on expanding the network before it reached the low-income parts of the city where city officials hoped it would do the most good."

MetroFi has offered to sell the network to the city for less then $900,000, but Portland officials haven't shown much interest in purchasing it, the newspaper reported. In a letter to city officials, MetroFi said: "We are looking to understand the city's position as soon as possible, as our intent is to begin network shutdown and equipment removal by the end of June if we do not have a buyer."

Other cities with MetroFi deployments that are facing end-of-life deployment include the California cities of Concord, Cupertino, Foster City, Riverside, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale, as well as Aurora, Ill.

Haas announced MetroFi's decision to sell or gradually close down its municipal networks in Wi-Fi Networking News late last week.

EarthLink, another major deployer of municipal Wi-Fi networks, has also been moving to sell or shut down its deployments in the cities where it has rolled out Wi-Fi networks.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of April 19, 2015.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.