The idea of setting up networks to beam wireless Internet access across entire cities and towns has been touted for years as a spur to economic development. It also has been promoted as a way to help bridge the so-called digital divide -- the gap between those who have access to all the advantages of the Internet and other digital technology and those who don't, mainly because of lower income.
Progress on such networks has been halting, however, because of financial, technical and political hurdles. And over the past year or so, there have been a string of reversals. The companies that built and maintained some of the most prominent municipal Wi-Fi networks abandoned them, and other projects stalled or were scaled back.
At the same time, though, a handful of communities have applied lessons learned from the first round of failed projects and are developing Wi-Fi networks that are more realistic in their ambitions and business models.
[ via muniwireless.com]