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MetroFi Wins Contract For Portland's Wi-Fi Network

The City of Portland announced Wednesday that its 134 square miles will be covered by Wi-Fi. Portland will adhere to a wireless business model of a mix of free, advertising-supported, and paid service that is gaining traction across the U.S.

Wi-Fi service will be deployed by MetroFi, which has done the same in California municipalities Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Santa Clara.

The office of Mayor Tom Potter said the MetroFi proposal beat out EarthLink and VeriLAN for the contract. The proposals were reviewed by a group of citizens, business representatives and technology experts as well as by city representatives.

"MetroFi has demonstrated its commitment to bridging the digital divide by offering both free and low-cost alternatives for broadband access on an open-provider network," said Potter in a statement. The service, which is also based on Wi-Fi and pre-WiMAX technologies, is expected to be in full operation in the Oregon city in one to two years.

MetroFi said it will blanket Portland with a Wi-Fi mesh network. Free 1 Mbps service will be available at no cost while higher speed access will be available for free with advertising and to users who don't want advertising for $20 a month. A major selling point cited was that city public works field personnel and first public safety responders will have increased accessibility to fast wireless connections.

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