Minneapolis Unwired: Latest prediction is network complete in February

Latest completion date for the USIW wireless mesh network is late January or early February. (I’ve been predicting 2008 all along.) The build-out map has been updated and it looks like they are working in the Phase 5 area which is north of the Mississippi and includes Southeast and the University. They are supposed to finish there in January. Phase 6 (South Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis) is the last area with a completion date in February.

I wonder if they have any agreement with the University of Minnesota for deploying on campus or around the campus. There were rumors at one point about USIW providing free service to staff and faculty (maybe students) living near the campus along with the campus itself and I know some early testing took place. Th U is building out a wireless network to replace the ad hoc one that has grown over the last few years but I don’t think USIW is in that mix.

The other news—from the Strib article—is that the network “will be able to fund its operations from customer fees for Internet access when US Internet signs 10,000 customers” according Joe Caldwell, US Internet’s marketing vice president. It looks like they had 5,000 customers in November with 7,000 more registered for service when it becomes available. Congratulations, USIW.

As some of you know, I am on the Digital Inclusion Fund Advisory Committee. We will soon be disbursing $200,000 in grants and when the network is complete, USIW will give us another $300,000 + 5% of pre-tax revenues. So their success is also a success for digital inclusion in our city.

Star Tribune article (which will likely go behind the paywall in the near future): Wi-Fi network expected to be self-sustaining

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