Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Toledo gets two wifi bids

Yesterday was the deadline for companies to respond to the City of Toledo's request for proposals to build and operate a citywide wireless network.

From today's Blade:

The city of Toledo and Mayor Carty Finkbeiner asked for the world when they put together a proposal for citywide Wi-Fi.

What they got may be closer to an asteroid.

Although hoping for several bids to provide the city with free Wi-Fi service, Toledo received only two Wi-Fi proposals by its 2 p.m. deadline yesterday, one from Buckeye CableSystem of Toledo, and the other from MetroFi of Mountain View, Calif. - neither meeting the city's request for free wireless Internet service for city government operations.

What MetroFi dangles in front of the city is free Wi-Fi service for every city resident willing to look at advertisements while they browse the Internet. Residents who prefer ad-free viewing would pay $19.95 per month for the service.

In the MetroFi plan the city would pay at least $2.2 million over five years as the "anchor tenant" of the wireless network. But costs could reach $4.3 million if the city chooses to add a licensed frequency for city safety services, something that was done when Riverside, Calif., deployed its Wi-Fi network with MetroFi. Public safety is Toledo's No. 1 reason for seeking a Wi-Fi contract.

Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman, said city officials would have no comment on the proposals until they were reviewed.

Earlier potential bidders who chose not to submit proposals were EarthLink, AT&T, 20/20 Communications, which is installing a Wi-Fi network in Wash-tenaw County, Michigan, and CISP, a Toledo Internet provider.

The Buckeye proposal approached the city's request for proposals as an invitation to begin an analysis of what the city needs. Buckeye is owned by Block Communications Inc., which also owns The Blade.

More here and here.

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