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Further City-Wide Wi-Fi Developments
Minneapolis just announced a plan for a city wide, privately-owned Wi-Fi network which will cost $15 to $20 million to build, and will offer data services at speeds between 1 Mbps and 3 Mbps. Service could be up in the 2006 timeframe, and will be available to consumers at about $20 per month. Neighboring Chaska, Minn., a city of 22,000, launched similar service last year. Similar efforts are underway in Philadelphia and San Francisco. By turning ownership over to private entities, these cities hope to avoid conflicts with telecom operators who might complain of unfair competition. One might ask whether these networks are necessary with 3G deployments. My answer is that these public services will be highly complementary because 3G cannot handle large densities of broadband users like Wi-Fi, but are more adept at coverage everywhere to lower user densities. Even if the resulting initial coverage is likely to be unpredictable, I???m enthusiastic about these city-wide deployments as I expect the service to be useful to large numbers of users.
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