09:20 AM

Strong Growth Rate Predicted For Muni Wireless

The development of municipal wireless networks will double every year through 2007, a new study predicts.

Municipalities in the U.S. will spend almost $700 million in the next three years creating public wireless broadband systems, according to a statistical analysis published Monday.

The analysis is part of a report by, a Web site devoted to municipal wireless issues. Esme Vos, founder of the site, claimed in a statement that this is the first statistical analysis of the potential of the public wireless market.

The study claims that municipal wireless will grow at a rate of 134 percent through 2007.

"Our study is the first to quantify the market's size and growth potential, and leaves little doubt: This is a market that has quickly gained critical mass, and is destined to grow at rapid rates for the foreseeable future -- even with the obvious questions surrounding the technical and political challenges," Vos said in a statement.

The study notes that the public networks are being discussed and deploys by both large and small municipalities, although about 60 percent of the spending this year will be done by large cities. So far, the main application for public networks is public safety, the study notes, but, behind that trend, is an effort by municipalities to cut the amount they pay for telecommunications services.

The study notes that growth of municipal networks will remain strong despite an uncertain political climate. Large telecom operators have strongly opposed creation of municipal wireless networks and have succeeded in several states in having legislation passed limiting the networks.

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