Back in the day, (which was in 2004 for those of you who aren’t sure) Verizon helped to launch the muniwireless (that’s geek for municipal WiFi) movement when they, for lack of a better phrase, had a hissie-fit in Philadelphia over it’s planned WiFi network. Cities across America have been debating the idea of whether or not it would be a good idea to provide wireless service to everyone, like they provide garbage collection or the public libraries. FANTASTIC idea. I’m not sure what all of the debate is about.
According to Muniwireless.com, the FTC recently published a Report on Muni Wireless, which is available through their website. Apparently the report is about as obvious as Lindsay Lohan’s drinking problem, but still a good thing to have in writing.
What does this mean to us? Well, if you travel to an area with muniwireless frequently, or if you stay for more than one night, it’s probably more cost-effective for you to sign up for the service than to pay $9.95 (or whatever the going rate may be) for service at your hotel. Some hotels, like Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn, never charge; while others, like Hyatt and Sheraton, pretty much always charge some outrageous rate. I guess whether or not you save money depends on your sleeping preferences. Some cities even offer the service for free.
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Who will be next to jump on the muniwireless bandwagon? Winston-Salem; Richardson, Texas; Paris, France; Sacramento are in the headlines to name a few… As of September 10, there are 68 cities participating and 135 planned deployments. For the September listing, check here. If you’re interested in a city who is not on the list, your best bet is to check with the city’s website.
Know what else this means? You could use your Skype phone anywhere in the city without worrying about jumping networks. You can’t argue with free phone service.