Another municipal WiFi network operator is on the skids. MetroFi, the municipal wireless specialist founded by former Covad Communications co-founder Chuck Haas, is looking for buyer for the WiFi networks it operates in nine cities. If MetroFi can't find a buyer, it will shut down the networks in 30 to 60 days. MetroFi's announcement follows last week's decision by EarthLink to close shop on its municipal WiFi network in Philadelphia. The timing also is interesting in that interest in municipal wireless networks recently seemed to be increasing again months after business model challenges drove many municipalities to turn their backs on proposals for such networks.
MetroFi's move leaves the door open for network operators such as telcos or cable TV companies to come in and be the knight in shining armor for cities such as San Jose, Calif., and Portland, Ore. Otherwise, the MetroFi towns, like Philadelphia, may be due for a cold dose of reality.
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