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City Wide Cleveland Wifi RFP Out

04/24/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi, Cleveland, Political, Economic Development

One of the perk of being on the Cleveland Digital Vision Board is that I get at the moment notice of things like when the Cleveland Citywide Wifi RFP comes out. I got the heads up and it was released last Friday. I spent Saturday nite reviewing it and sent these comments to significant people in the sector, here and in my network nationally.

Skim the 200 page RFP here to get some context of what I wrote. I didn't edit for the blog and I apologize for not posting it sooner.

I don't want to appear cynical, but.....

my copy of the RFP has a number of bad typos such as the table of contents
had every paragraph and subparagraph listed to be on page 3 yet the table
itself was 4 pages long. electriCity vs electricity What message is that
putting out?

Also I don't see any language about open source. There is the mention of
open "architecture" and specifically 802.11b/g, but nothing about open
source software or hardware. Industry standards is NOT open source standard.
The part "No client software that is specific to the Network Operator or
Service Provider (s) shall be required on PCs, laptops, or other mobile
devices in order to use the Network" doen't really cut it either.

This seems to be crafted to be to the big guys with large marketing
departments, requirements for economic impact reports that would probably
be farmed out to CSU or Case, and basically setting up or interfacing with a
lot of the Cities internal computer systems to get to work orders, report
submissions, etc. That could be a major job in of itself.

The computer equipment provider seems to be designed to add to intel
increased sales.

Why was so much written about the city's assets of optical fiber when it is
NOT available for this project? It is probably the biggest advantage the
city has in actually getting this done and it can't be used! But then the
winner can use HIS fiber to backhaul, if he/she wants.

Technically: "In Addition, the Network's signal level should be at or
above -65 dBm as measured with a ) dBi antenna.]"
It is important to know what kind of gain the reciever antenna is as well as
the measured bandwidth of the rf power (spectrum analyzer) meter. The meter
must be NIST traceably calibrated to maintain an equal playing field. Might
also have been better to explicitely state compliance to FCC part 15.

The "WiFi certified" label is passe.

The proposed network provides support for
And finally what the hell is a "walled garden"? "drinking fountain
capability"?

And just so that I don't appear snarky, here is what I like about this RFP:

Network is available for Fair and Equal Access.
Network is Open to Multiple Service .
The network has No Blocking of Content or Ports for Non-City Services.

Roaming, if it can be implemented would be major cool. RTA bus rides with
video conferencing would be slick. But again this is big boy territory.

I'm not too happy about 10 year commitments in such a fast moving industry,
especially without specific mechanisms to enforce or switch providers
midstream. However, I do like that they are looking forward in expecting
100 times more bandwidth neccesity in ten years. It hope it will be enough.

Did I read right? "best-effort minimum for 1 Mbps SYMMETRIC data
transmission" Am I in America?

And then of course, I LOVE "The proposal describes how the network will
interact with existing WLAN users." ie us grassroot CWN implementers. Yay,
we have not been forgotten.

If you got opinions on the RFP or on my take, go ahead and comment.

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