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NonProfits and Wifi

08/04/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

BFD linked to this AP article on Boston's approach to citywide wireless internet. Jack was good enough to email me the day before and I responded like this:

Jack,

At the National Summit, the folks from around Boston said that this was an idea floating around. I find it amusing to see their reasons for going this route, "to ensure the project meets its civic goals and steers clear of special interests." I hate to sound like Gomez's article on TeamNEO, but that wouldn't work here, not with the initial task of raising $20 million.

Also, "Other U.S. cities launching wireless initiatives have created various layers of oversight to ensure private contractors serve the public interest by keeping prices down, expanding access to low-income neighborhoods, and, in some cases, opening up the network to rivals." The non-profit will also have to have some oversight since they will probably subcontract much of the work. The difference is that they will be accountable if they do not meet the low enduser cost, or they will have find some method to subsidize that private providers don't have access to. This would probably add another nodule of bureaucracy to what I think would be come another big organization.

I'd love to see Valdis map this network and compare it to the RFP winner model. Darn I should blog this.

Thanks for sending this.

I might point out OneCommunty/Cleveland/Cluge is NOT about wifi, but about using the dark fiber that lies below the whole region. They still haven't figured out how to tell their story and dispell the myths that they themselves have created in the early days. Give them time though. I know that they have things in the pipeline that will actually will help the community at large.

Also notice I blogged this.

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