Municipal Wi-Fi: A Case of New Orleans

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Should municipal Wi-Fi continue to be pursued? If so, should this be left to the private sector, government sector, or both? Introduction: Many technologies that came to be discovered in the last half century were revolutionary. From the radio to internet many began as private offerings and were then taken up by the state or even municipality for public service at subsidized costs. The municipal WiFi network was one such idea where in the initial stages it evoked a lot of enthusiasm. Municipal broadband is a system provided by the city-wide broadband network at very cheap price less than DSL or cable modem service. These were the unlicensed Wi-Fi, but fiber optics and WiMAX were also used for municipal broadband. From the year 2005 to 2008, more than 300 "city clouds" came to be which were abandoned halfway. These included the mesh networking to allow WiFi nodes to wirelessly interconnect the mobile ad hoc networks--MANET and the MeshNetworks of Motorola and the municipality service providers like Seattle wireless were some of the early contenders. As the movement advocating a free community WiFi grew, San Francisco experimented with a community LAN. Many protocols were designed around it including the Predictive Wireless Routing Protocol--PWRP and the enthusiasts were seen to predict in 2005 that by 2010 the municipal Wi-Fi networks would cover 126,000 square miles. This did not materialize because of the costs that were exponential. The cost of installing the

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