MetroFi installed a great municipal wireless network. Seriously.
Or at least that’s how it looks to me — from my experience in the last few days.
The background: MetroFi built an extensive wireless network for the City of Portland. It didn’t work often, and when it worked, it didn’t work well. So the City opted out of the contract paying for bandwidth for core services. There’s lots of chatter in the blogs about the bad decisions made along the way, the cost to taxpayers, etc. Lots of gazing at trees.
But in the last few days, I’ve had what may be a remarkable glimpse of the forest.
I’ve connected to MetroFi nodes in numerous parts of town, and noticed two new things each time:
- There were no advertisements, and
- The connection WORKED.
Has anyone else had this experience? If you’re gonna check, do it quick, because the scuttlebutt says the whole thing’s getting shut down Friday. After that, who knows — sold for scrap?
But as we Portlanders contemplate what to do next, what about this possibility:
Was MetroFi’s network killed by a flawed technical approach to advertising? Did they shut it off after the contract was voided, only to reveal a perfectly functional municipal wireless network under all the junk?
And as we think that over, keep in mind that municipally-operated Internet access has been proven to work, with enormous benefits to citizens as ‘net consumers and citizens as taxpayers, alike. Since the late 1990s. In Kentucky.