Municipal wireless networks are a polarizing technology. In any given Google search you can find some championing the benefits of city-wide networks, while others just as loudly decree the business model as shoddy. That doesn’t seem to stop cities from wanting the networks — today Boston turned on a section of its downtown WiFi network, built and run by SkyPilot Networks and Galaxy Internet. Foster City also launched a network from MetroFi today. Tomorrow the Riverside city council will consider the muniFi bid from AT&T and MetroFi.
Meanwhile we’re still wondering if the Sevin Rosen dissolved fund will affect MetroFi’s city bids. Some say no, and that the fund will still support MetroFi. But there are a lot of definitions of “support.” For some of MetroFi’s deals, like Riverside, cities have the security of AT&T’s coffers. But what about Portland? We’re thinking that Portland could be the next city that MetroFi partners with AT&T, or even Earthlink. While that might start the contract bidding process all over, Portland might be risking a lot by depending on MetroFi’s VC-raised funds alone.