Miriam Hill at the Philadelphia Daily News has a good piece on the trials and tribulations large municipal wireless deployments. Of course her focus is Philadelphia but it’s really an overview as to what is going on in this space nationally. She provides a good description of how a wireless mesh network works and why it might be difficult to keep up and running and providing ubiquitous access.
Philadelphia is a whole lot bigger than Minneapolis both in population—1.4M compared to some 300,000—and area—135 square miles compared to 60 square miles. The stakes are definitely higher. How Earthlink fares with it’s Philadelphia network will set a tone for large deployments around the country and world.
I want to commend Ms. Hill for her article and entreat our local press (Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, TC Daily Planet) to start providing this type of coverage. More than anything, we need more information about what is happening locally and nationally. We want US Internet Wireless (USIW) (our muni wireless network builder) to prosper and give us another choice for broadband Internet services in Minneapolis. But we also need to be weighing the problems with a large deployment and nurturing a conversation on how we can make this work together.