Minneapolis Unwired: State of the Wireless Network report from City CIO

At the Minneapolis City Council Committee of the Whole meeting this week, CIO Lynn Willenbring presented the report below. The map that is mentioned in the report is not attached. I will try to get a copy and post it. A PDF version of the report is available.

The Report

Background/Supporting Information

In 2006 the City of Minneapolis signed a 10-year contract with US Internet to build and manage a wireless network across the city. USI Wireless is currently in the process of constructing the wireless network.

When completed the wireless network will provide access to 95 percent of the city’s land area (the remaining 5 percent includes lakes, larger parks, and golf courses). To develop this wireless network radios are mounted on city assets, such as light poles, which allows the network coverage to reach approximately the third floor of buildings. With additional equipment, building owners can bring the wireless signal into the building and all the way to the top floor of a building.

Overview – Preview – Project Update Over

USI Wireless anticipates that the initial build-out of the network will be completed in March. Construction has been broken into six construction phases. A map (attached) produced by the company shows each of the six construction phases and also highlights areas that we are calling “challenge areas.” These are places throughout Minneapolis where there are a limited number of assets on which to hang the wireless radios. Many of these are areas that have special light poles or are adjacent to parks, where there are currently no light poles. The special light poles may be decorative or they may be scheduled for replacement along parkways. Minneapolis’ 7th City Council Ward has a significant number of challenge areas. These areas will be addressed before the network is considered complete, but installation of wireless radios is continuing throughout Minneapolis to gain as much coverage as possible.

Because network coverage will only reach approximately the third floor of buildings, USI Wireless will be working with interested condominium and apartment ownership groups to bring the wireless network into their buildings. Tall building management organizations are encouraged to contact USI Wireless to begin the process.

Resolving these challenges is a priority for both the City and USI Wireless. The City must be confident that when the network is complete it meets our service expectations and the contract requirements.

Since Minneapolis is one of the first cities in the country to pursue such a project, we are the first to face – and resolve – the myriad of unanticipated issues that come along with such an ambitious endeavor.



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