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MetroFi Isn't Funding Municipal Wi-Fi
So is anyone going to get it?
by KathrynV 01:09PM Sunday Jul 15 2007
Downtown Anchorage, Alaska was all set to go on its municipal Wi-Fi plan when, as with many other cities in the deployment process, there was a hitch that stopped the plan altogether. The problem is (not surprisingly) money and the question of who is going to pay for what when it comes to deployment. In this case, the culprit is MetroFi. The city of Anchorage says that MetroFi unexpectedly requested a $3000 monthly fee for a service that the government expected to be free. MetroFi responds that the company was always clear that they need a “financial commitment” to contract with cities. Hm, but if they’re so clear, why have the same problems cropped up recently in California and Ohio?

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dadkins
Can you do Blu?
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join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
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1 edit

Leagalese

Instead of hiding it in some BS Lawyer-Speak on some agreement... try stating *UP FRONT* that there will be a fee schedule and see how far these cities drag your asses along.

I'm betting that if it was clear... they would have been shown the door a long time ago!
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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Newsflash...

quote:
The city of Anchorage says that MetroFi unexpectedly requested a $3000 monthly fee for a service that the government expected to be free.
Wow... stuff costs money, who knew?!
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Only SHATNER is Kirk.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
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$3 gasoline

Well, just like everything, isn't Alaska swimming in OIL rich cash flow? you know it's hovering in the $60-80 per barrel mark these days.. which equates to $3 gasoline.. and the state is crying poor?
That deserves a 3 month ban on Alaska broadband topics from BBR!

supergirl

join:2007-03-20
Pensacola, FL

Re: $3 gasoline

said by tmc8080:

Well, just like everything, isn't Alaska swimming in OIL rich cash flow? you know it's hovering in the $60-80 per barrel mark these days.. which equates to $3 gasoline.. and the state is crying poor?
That deserves a 3 month ban on Alaska broadband topics from BBR!
The pipeline has suffered huge problems and eventually has to be taken off-line to redo some sections that sprungs leaks.

Alaskians do get about $3,000 or so a year from the oil revenue sharing. How come they can't afford free broadband on that windfall they get every year?
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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: $3 gasoline

said by supergirl:

Alaskians do get about $3,000 or so a year from the oil revenue sharing. How come they can't afford free broadband on that windfall they get every year?
I was going to say they spend it on tubes and dump trucks, but I am also guessing all those bridges to nowhere add up to a pretty penny too.

Oh wait, the rest of us are paying for that.
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Only SHATNER is Kirk.

koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

Re: $3 gasoline

The Knik Arm bridge is very much needed. If you would like to have a discussion about it, please PM me. The other bridge down near Juneau is a stupid idea.
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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: $3 gasoline

said by koolman2:

The Knik Arm bridge is very much needed.
The Intercounty Connecter is needed near where I live.

I-95 in Virginia needs to be significantly expanded as well.

We need to add the Purple and Silver lines to the DC Metro (among other lines which I cannot remember off the top of my head).

There are literally tons of needed road and transit projects here that won't get built because of lack of funds. But we don't have senators or representatives with seniority like Ted Stevens or Don Young who can funnel the money into our coffers for us either. For the ICC, we ended up paying for that one out of our own pockets by making that a toll road.
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koolman2
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join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

Re: $3 gasoline

The Knik Arm bridge would save 100 miles per day on commutes in extreme cases. 50 miles per day would be typical.
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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: $3 gasoline

said by koolman2:

The Knik Arm bridge would save 100 miles per day on commutes in extreme cases. 50 miles per day would be typical.
I'm not disputing your claim that the bridge is needed. I am just saying it would also be nice for the federal government to pay for other transportation projects as well.
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koolman2
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Anchorage, AK

Re: $3 gasoline

Agreed.

koolman2
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join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK
$3,000 a year? The PFD has yet to top $2,000... Even then, $1,500 a year isn't THAT much.
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Brat75
I remember 8-tracks

join:2003-02-05
Kent, WA
We do NOT get that much money.

PFD (permanent fund dividend) has varied in amounts since 1982.
Here's a link, showing a table of the various dividends.
»www.pfd.state.ak.us/dividendamou···dex.aspx

One thing this PFD does for us is help us LIVE in Alaska. If you don't know, almost EVERYTHING must be shipped (barge, truck or airline) to Alaska. Our produce is 10 days old when it's for sale in Anchorage. Our clothing is slightly outdated. Beer kegs, for god's sakes...have a week long expiration point, due to shipping! They *kegs* start as 21 day long items, but by the time they land in AK, they have 7 days before they're considered dead.

Gas isn't cheap in Alaska. Anchorage is the main city, but people live in the Bush. Sometimes Diesel costs $6/gal out in the Bush, due to shipping. A lot of villages out in the Bush still don't have plumbing/ sewage. Food....is interesting. Costco does a great deal of business for Bush orders - staples bought by customers out in the Bush. But guess what? Most of the villages don't have commercial sized airline strips!!! A lot of the flown in stuff is flown in on smaller airplanes - which means - less per shipment coming in.

Something else:
There are 2 - 3 FO pipelines coming into Anchorage from Seattle. There are a couple going to Juneau and Seward. There is literally no fiber optic infrastructure past Fairbanks. If you live in Nome, you use...Satellite. With a 600ms lag. If you live in Willow, you _might_ get cable modem, but it really depends if the ISPs have decided to lay any infrastructure in that area.

Does this answer your question?

Brat75
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axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

Re: $3 gasoline

Plenty of room in Wyoming I hear, nicer weather too. Broadband is probably worse tho ;p

marigolds
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Saint Louis, MO
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1 edit

It's not the money...

The issue here is not the actual money. $36k/year is really not very much for a city the size of Anchorage.
The issue is that this was a bid process and MetroFi won the bid in part because they offered free access to the city. Then, after the bid was awarded and before the contract was signed, MetroFi added the fee that was not in the original bid. There were five other companies who responded to the original RFP who now should have an opportunity to beat MetroFi's real offer.
And as the mayor mentioned, the city expects even more companies to respond to the new RFP.

The problem is not the money, the problem is MetroFi submitting bids that they cannot meet.
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Anonymous
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IA
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Re: It's not the money...

Wow that's lame. They should be fined into bankruptcy.

RadioDoc
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La Grange, IL
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Re: It's not the money...

No need for fines. Rebidding is the way to handle it.
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Anonymous
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join:2004-06-01
IA
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Re: It's not the money...

And what's preventing some other company to try to pull the same crap?

RadioDoc
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La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: It's not the money...

What crap? They bid, they didn't live up to the bid, they lost the contract and (if Anchorage has any brains at all) their bid deposit.
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tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
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said by marigolds:

The issue here is not the actual money. $36k/year is really not very much for a city the size of Anchorage.
The issue is that this was a bid process and MetroFi won the bid in part because they offered free access to the city. Then, after the bid was awarded and before the contract was signed, MetroFi added the fee that was not in the original bid. There were five other companies who responded to the original RFP who now should have an opportunity to beat MetroFi's real offer.
And as the mayor mentioned, the city expects even more companies to respond to the new RFP.

The problem is not the money, the problem is MetroFi submitting bids that they cannot meet.
So, what your saying is Alaska doesn't know how to write iron-clad contracts? There should have been no real wiggle room and this should have been spelled out or written in as "negotiated in good faith" language, etc.. no company should be THAT stupid to do a free buildout, AND give free bandwidth, and expect to lose in the return on investment at the same time... because if so, I've got an Iraqi oil field I'd like to sell the rights to... oh wait, we're already pumping about 10+Billion over there.. and not a single drop of oil lowers our price at the pump... quite the contrary.

RadioDoc
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join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: It's not the money...

There was no contract. It didn't even get that far. They won a bid and then tried to change the terms before it went to contract.
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Done_Posting
Shoot to kill
Premium
join:2003-08-22
Toledo, OH

MetroFi - Bah

These guys need to go away. I haven't heard anything good about them, and it pisses me off that they somehow beat out the telco I work for to provide WiFi here in Toledo.

Shady, shady, shady.

- Tate

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waiter
Premium
join:2006-12-20
Millbury, OH

Re: MetroFi - Bah

Me To;

I'm wondering if Carty or someone else got thier pockets lined. This deal stunk from the very beginning.

I sent a copy of the article to the local radio stations.

Waiter
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Denise Graab

@telepacific.net
Two points of reference...

*MetroFi has received numerous testimonials from residents, businesses and tourists who have had a positive experience with the "MetroFi-Free" service. Check out... »www.metrofi.com/customer_stories.html

*100% of MetroFi's current city partners serve as references to new municipalities considering MetroFi.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
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oh well

Its nice that the local government did try to find someone to do it cheaper, I'd expect them to go ahead without bidding to some friend who sets up a new company with no experience, or create cushy government jobs and hire their friends to do the work at high prices.

Interesting news, maybe the government there will consider owning the infrastructure so that the next company doesn't pull this stunt after money has been spent on the equipment.

Denise Graab

@telepacific.net

Clarifying the facts

There are several posts in this chain that are inaccurate in their understanding of the situation with the proposed Anchorage Wi-Fi network, and I hope to clarify MetroFi's position for everyone:

MetroFi designs, builds and operates mixed-use municipal Wi-Fi networks that include free, ad-supported, wireless Internet access, business-class fixed wireless services, and municipal/public safety applications. In return for using our own capital to design and build the network, we require an annual financial commitment from the city for the municipal and public safety applications over the network.

In MetroFi's submitted proposal and subsequent discussions with the municipality and leadership of Anchorage, it has consistently been our position and understanding of the agreement that the Municipality of Anchorage would use the proposed Wi-Fi network for city services such as public safety. The confidential portion of the MetroFi proposal did contain financials for such services, and I recommend you review the municipality's press release from June 18 (»www.muni.org/mayor/press_release···0618.cfm) which references planned city use of the network (see second to last paragraph).

Additionally, MetroFi's anchor tenancy requirement for all new city contracts has been widely reported in national, trade and local press as a fiscally-responsible business model for municipal Wi-Fi projects, and we have included this requirement in all of the 17 municipal Wi-Fi proposals we currently have pending with U.S. cities. This was not something that MetroFi sprung on the Municipality of Anchorage at the last minute (nor after contract negotiations began).

Recently, the Municipality of Anchorage asked MetroFi to build the network without the anchor tenant contractual commitment. Unfortunately, this does not align with our business model, and we were unfortunately unable to negotiate a contract with this municipality as a result.

Also: bulking this situation with those of other cities (such as Toledo, OH) is a generalization without merit. Each city has its own unique challenges in deploying a municipal Wi-Fi network, and ultimately MetroFi networks can help cities reduce telecommunications costs, enhance public safety and city services, and deliver free broadband Internet access to residents, businesses and visitors.

www.MetroFi.com

anon

@sonic.net

Re: Clarifying the facts

Just as a data point, the franchise agreement with Concord, CA is available at »www.ci.concord.ca.us/CITYGOV/age···6-6a.pdf .

Anyone can read it.