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Metro WiFi and Muni WiFi are different: RoamAD take

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Sep-2007 09:59

Just hot off my blog post about the Kordia Metro WiFi's website usability problems I got a phone call this morning from RoamAD CEO Martyn Levy. RoamAD is the company providing the infrastructure for the Kordia Metro WiFi service. They have also provided the same infrastructure to the Perth Metro WiFi service (PDF link).

It looks like he's jumping into a meeting with Kordia very soon and will bring some of my comments to it - regarding user experience on the site.

As for the service, it's still available in limited areas, but with an agressive roll out plan, with the aim to cover major New Zealand cities by 2010.

Martyn explained that the press release lists the service as available in Auckland and Taupo, while the Kordia website lists it in many more locations by saying that some of the locations (such as Wellington) are actually limited in scope and the site lists those for information only.



One important point Martyn made was about the business model used for this deployment. Kordia is entering the "Metro WiFi" service, which is a private (sort of, being a SOE) enterprise investing in a network infrastructure available where people congregate. So don't expect it to be your xDSL replacement anytime soon, but it will be available as a complement to the ubiquitous cellular data service.

The Metro WiFi model is very different from the Muni WiFi, where the second one is generally sponsored by towns and cities, with the intention of providing free (or cheap) Internet access to its citizens. This is the model some cities in the U.S. tried to implement, with the best known case being the San Francisco Muni Wifi, which has just lost its ISP, Earthlink:


Mayor Gavin Newsom's high-profile effort to blanket San Francisco with a free wireless Internet network died Wednesday when provider EarthLink backed out of a proposed contract with the city.

The contract, which was three years in the making, had run into snags with the Board of Supervisors, but ultimately it was undone when Atlanta-based EarthLink announced Tuesday that it no longer believed providing citywide Wi-Fi was economically viable for the company.



Martyn says this model is not sustainable and U.S. projects are in the wrong path.

To read a bit more about this check this RoamAD presentation. By the way, RoamAD is a New Zealand company.


Other related posts:
Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, Microsoft Surface Studio
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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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