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Metro-Fi, AT&T Win Riverside Wi-Fi Bid
Second muni-project for incumbent telco
by Karl Bode 04:04PM Wednesday Oct 18 2006
Free Wi-Fi provider Metro-Fi and AT&T have won a joint contract to provide the city of Riverside, California, with an 80 square mile Wi-Fi network - though you'll have to head to the very bottom of AT&T's press release to notice Metro-Fi is involved. After battling these projects in the past, AT&T has decided to pursue muni-Fi. This will be the second such project for AT&T if approved by the city council; the telco will also be providing Springfield, Illinois with Wi-Fi. Metro-Fi also operates three Wi-Fi networks in Northern California.

From the release: "All users will be able to access a free broadband option with speeds expected to range between 200 and 500 Kilobits per second (Kbps). A range of ad-free, paid subscription options, including day passes and monthly subscriptions will also be available with speeds of up to 1 Megabit per second (Mbps). Final details on the service packages and pricing will be announced at the launch of the service."

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JakCrow

join:2001-12-06
Palo Alto, CA

Hypocrisy much?

Isn't one of the reasons for offering muni networking is to get out from under the incumbent telco?

Raptor
Not a Dumptruck

join:2001-10-21
London, ON
Reviews:
·Rogers Hi-Speed

Fire!

A range of ad-free, paid subscription options, including day passes and monthly subscriptions will also be available with speeds of up to 1 Megabit per second (Mbps).
Honestly, if they put some money into it and made it a worthwhile service, say closer to what IMO 'minimum' broadband should be, around 3mbit, I think their subscriber base would be much larger.

Heh, maybe they want it to fail. And since they themselves would have tried and failed, of course any local start-ups from that point into the future can be laughed at and subsequently obliterated when Master Vader sets his targeting sensors.

However, not knowing exactly what the residential layout of the Riverside area is like, perhaps this is great news for those who have no other options.
--
....where's my fiber?

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: Fire!

said by Raptor:

Honestly, if they put some money into it and made it a worthwhile service, say closer to what IMO 'minimum' broadband should be, around 3mbit, I think their subscriber base would be much larger.
seems like they want it to succeed but not rival the incumbent's current offerings.

Telephone Man

@cebridge.net
AT&T is not about to make this service too good, mainly because they (SBC) own all the landlines in Riverside, as well as Cingular and if this service really works like broadband should you can circumvent the landlines and avoid using cell phones minutes using this WiFi as a VOIP channel which they get no money for currently, and not about to cannabilize their legacy central offices, and or giving you the option of reducing your cell minutes, you're dead on, and by the way it does taint anyone else from entering the market.

shortckt
Watchen Das Blinken Lights
Premium
join:2000-12-05
Tenant Hell

Promises... promises

We'll see how this works when it's finally online next year. Coverage may be spotty in some areas due to terrain. I hope the city's IT isn't as paranoid as Culver City, that city wifi is so locked down it only allows http and pop3, and even then it's proxied.

Why don't they install some kind of broadband in the surrounding suburbs instead of the middle of the city where dsl and cable broadband is already available.

aztecnology
O Rly?
Premium
join:2003-02-12
Murrieta, CA

Re: Promises... promises

I work in downtown Riverside, the existing WiFi is horrible. I hope with the new service that I can sit from my desk and surf the net from my laptop...

JamesPC

join:2005-10-12
Orange, CA

information

the link does not work
FOODANDDRUG

join:2005-06-03
Riverside, CA

1 edit

Riverside Wi-Fi Low Income

As a consumer who is low income, this program goes beyond establishing Wi-Fi throughout the city.

What is not really discussed in much detail is that AT&T and Metro-Fi will be able to easily deploy the network by using the city owned and operated electric utility system (meaning electric poles, vaults, etc.) without having to be ham-strung waiting for approval to use poles that would be owned by Southern California Edison as is the case in most southern California municipalities.

Many cities in southern California that have chosen to deploy a city-wide Wi-Fi system have seen their deployments come to a screeching halt to due SCE's turtle-like speed in negotiating contracts to permit the Wi-Fi operator to use SCE's poles....this will not be a problem in Riverside.

In looking at the economics of the bid, AT&T probably looked at the electric pole issue as a big hurdle to jump and with the Utilities department already operating and managing a fiber system throughout the city, this became an easier hurdle to jump from an economic perspective. I have not seen a breakdown as to what exactly the city of Riverside will be paying for communication services from the AT&T, including wireless and private channel communications (other than the $4 million figure released by the city). I suspect the city negotiated the best price for those services separate of the Wi-Fi agreement.

Charter Communications (the incumbent cable company) already leases (through a separate agreement) fiber from the city utilities department, and uses the city's poles and vaults to house some of their nodes to support the distribution of Charter's internet service to their business and residential customers.

For low income residents, the city will begin dispersing free computers (what I've heard is that most likely they will be refurbished) with wireless cards built in. Not clear is if the cards will be free or available for a reduced price using a sliding scale based on income, similar to the CARE and Lifeline utility programs.

It appears from the bid that the city utility department will not handle any business or residential billing for the Wi-Fi service and this will be handled by AT&T.

For Riverside consumers, there will be NO penalty of higher prices from AT&T for using the municipal Wi-Fi beyond the free option because you do not subscribe to services from AT&T and/or Cingular.

This by itself is a big, big win for Riverside consumers and it tells me that if AT&T can offer free Wi-Fi or paid levels for higher speeds, they certainly must offer naked-DSL at prices much, much lower than what is currently if you do not desire any other services, other than DSL.

Frankly, I'm surprised AT&T bid on this considering in other areas AT&T was against other municipalities from offering internet service. If AT&T can establish a profitable business model from what they are planning to offer in Riverside, a combination municipal utility and AT&T service proposal may be a win-win for both sides. Maybe AT&T no room to yell and scream about Riverside already providing internet service since it is already in place and operating (the city-wide fiber backbone) in addition to the Wi-Fi service downtown.

My hunch tells me that AT&T will not make anything off the Wi-Fi portion of the deal and will have to pay Metro-Fi a fee to set-up and build out the Wi-Fi portion. Where AT&T may come ahead is the communications portion of the agreement if the city elects to purchase additional services not covered by the contract, overages for additional cellular minutes, new equipment, etc.

One of the requirements is to have Wi-Fi available to every residential unit within the city limits up to the second floor, with a 90% availability rate inside each residential dwelling.

To me, those are very high targets to reach. I would assume that residents who use wireless routers in their homes today will say that their current signal does not penetrate their entire house.

You have to assume that AT&T has built into its economics that they have estimated a number of it's customers will drop DSL in favor of the free Wi-Fi service and/or other paid speed tier levels.

I still say if were not for the city-owned electric utility, AT&T would not have bid on the Wi-Fi RFP.

Let's see how the next 18 months go, who gets the computers and the wireless cards and how the ad-supported free Wi-Fi model is working.

Glad this topic made the news page of dslreports.com. It seems they just ignored the subject of the Riverside Wi-Fi bid until recently.

This was a well thought out and written RFP by city staff. Based on the requirements in the RFP, I thought nobody would have bid simply because of the economics needed to make the Wi-Fi system financially viable.

It looks like if your city has a municipal electric utility , owns the poles and can switch your communication services, AT&T and Verizon appear to be the only company with the financial resources to pull it off.

Interesting choice of selecting the Auto Center off the 91 Freeway for the test site for Wi-Fi. Plenty of business in the area along with mixed-use residential to the immediate east and south, some that are very, very low income. No word yet if the low income qualified residents in the test area will receive the free computer or will they have to wait until Wi-Fi is officially launched. You would think that the city will want to review analysis from both business and residential locations.

Overall a well written RFP by the city.

aztecnology
O Rly?
Premium
join:2003-02-12
Murrieta, CA

Re: Riverside Wi-Fi Low Income

said by FOODANDDRUG:

In looking at the economics of the bid, AT&T probably looked at the electric pole issue as a big hurdle to jump and with the Utilities department already operating and managing a fiber system throughout the city, this became an easier hurdle to jump from an economic perspective.

Perhaps. The bigger issue is that this will be AT&T's poster child for anti-muni projects. With a city that has its own fiber and utilites, and is one of the fastest growing regions in the country can't do it, neither can smalltown USA...

It appears from the bid that the city utility department will not handle any business or residential billing for the Wi-Fi service and this will be handled by AT&T.
Naturally...

This by itself is a big, big win for Riverside consumers and it tells me that if AT&T can offer free Wi-Fi or paid levels for higher speeds, they certainly must offer naked-DSL at prices much, much lower than what is currently if you do not desire any other services, other than DSL.
Apples and oranges...

Frankly, I'm surprised AT&T bid on this considering in other areas AT&T was against other municipalities from offering internet service.
See above. This is a foot in the door for Freedomlink. Not to mention that the main central office in Riverside is downtown next to the library and Mission Inn, and will be where Project Lightspeed will be served from...

If AT&T can establish a profitable business model from what they are planning to offer in Riverside, a combination municipal utility and AT&T service proposal may be a win-win for both sides.
Again, Freedomlink...

Maybe AT&T no room to yell and scream about Riverside already providing internet service since it is already in place and operating (the city-wide fiber backbone) in addition to the Wi-Fi service downtown.
The WiFi service in downtown is horrible. Hence this new arrangement...

My hunch tells me that AT&T will not make anything off the Wi-Fi portion of the deal and will have to pay Metro-Fi a fee to set-up and build out the Wi-Fi portion. Where AT&T may come ahead is the communications portion of the agreement if the city elects to purchase additional services not covered by the contract, overages for additional cellular minutes, new equipment, etc.
Dont think government here. Think consumer communications. Project Lightspeed and Uverse...

One of the requirements is to have Wi-Fi available to every residential unit within the city limits up to the second floor, with a 90% availability rate inside each residential dwelling.
I doubt this will even happen. How will they even verify...

You have to assume that AT&T has built into its economics that they have estimated a number of it's customers will drop DSL in favor of the free Wi-Fi service and/or other paid speed tier levels.
I dought that any DSL losses are even a factor. The most likely thing to happen is that they will get the full WiFi capability if they subscribe to Project Lightspeed/Uverse package deal...

I still say if were not for the city-owned electric utility, AT&T would not have bid on the Wi-Fi RFP.
Agreed...

Interesting choice of selecting the Auto Center off the 91 Freeway for the test site for Wi-Fi.
AT&T's engineering office, and garage for the technicians is located right there...
--
"Independent thinkers tend to ALWAYS have someone not agreeing with them. It's The non-thinkers that always come in legions." John Callari .:|:. Say no to the IRS Yes to the Fair Tax
Nextstep

join:2003-05-10
Beaumont, CA

Cant wait

I work in Riverside and will be able to pay bills, check email, etc. during lunch.

Also use Skype and cut down on cell phone calls.
dagg

join:2001-03-25
Galt, CA

just wondering

am i the only one that sees metro wireless of any type an instant road to sitting on the sidelines as a nich product while FiOS just steamrolls everything else?