There’s a pretty good article written by Glenn Fleishman over on Wi-Fi Networking News about the benefits of municipal wireless versus WiMax.
I happen to live in a city that offers solar-powered wireless access to its residents and when this service (known as ParkWiFi) was originally announced about a year ago, I assumed I’d be able to redistribute the $50 per month I was paying Comcast towards something more important like video games or prescriptions.
The initial word on the street was that ParkWiFi was either going to be free or cost $15 per month. As it turns out, the price of the service ranges from $15 to $30 and crawls along at 128K (128K!) if you opt for the cheapest plan. Plus there are now these really weird, ugly utility boxes on every block and all the residents are pissing and moaning about how the neighborhoods have been ruined.
Fleishman’s main argument is that, since Sprint and Clearwire now have a roaming agreement, WiMax might be a good alternative over municipal wireless networks. The big issue would be pricing and the fact that WiMax requires special adaptors, unlike municipal wireless which generally uses the 802.11b/g
I think the biggest roadblock would be price. I can’t see Sprint only charging people $20 per month, for instance, and letting them connect as many computers as they want. For now it looks like I’m stuck with my super fast, super reliable, super expensive Comcast connection.
Sprint Nextel/Clearwire Agree to Roam; Muni-Fi To Suffer? [Wi-Fi Net News]