Milwaukee Citywide Wi-Fi Update: Work Still Hasn’t Started
Bad news for residents of Milwaukee who were anxious to be one of America’s first major cities to have citywide Wi-Fi service: work still hasn’t started.
Last July, I noted how the project was six months behind schedule at the time, but a deal had apparently been reached between the city and Midwest Fiber Networks. That would have put the initial “test” network for the near-west side online in Fall of 2006, with the entire city online by the end of 2007.
However, I’ve been talking to MFN through their PR firm trying to get some updates on the status of the project and it doesn’t look good. Bottom line is that they’re still negotiating with the city, and there’s no timeline on those negotiations being completed. Hence, the clock still hasn’t started ticking on the six months MFN will need to build out just the “test” network.
That 6 month time frame precludes the 18 months for Wi-Fi service throughout the rest of Milwaukee. So even if work were started today, we wouldn’t be looking at completion of this project untill early 2008 at the earliest.
That’s quite a dissapointment for a project that was basically sold on the promise of making Milwaukee “first” to have citywide Wi-Fi access.
So what’s the holdup? Like I said, I’ve been in contact with their PR firm and with one of the owners/principles of Midwest Fiber Networks and received this response to my questions about the delays:
Where we have fallen short of expectations is not anticipating the
amount of time required for contract approvals. The fundamental terms
were approved by Common Council in January, but we did not prepare for
some of the detailed legal review of those terms and just how long it
would take to work through the various partners and affected parties.
Therefore, we have not started the official City Wireless build-out of
the test network yet. We continue to work in the background on the plans and installation procedures in anticipation of the larger project beginning soon. – Donna Raffaelli-Meyer
While it’s hard to not understand the frustrations in working out contacts with a city government, this is also a company who has been working with the city and it’s proceedures for years now.
The sad fact is Milwaukee is no closer to rolling out city-wide Wi-Fi access than it was almost a year ago when this deal was proposed. In the meantime, other major U.S. cities are passing Milwaukee by with their own plans to rollout citywide Wi-Fi access for their residents.