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Hollywood's Wi-Fi Effort Collapses in a Heap
Network Never Worked, Still Interfered With Working Networks
by Karl Bode 10:32AM Tuesday Jul 31 2012
We've all seen more than a few public Wi-Fi initiatives rise and fall as cities realize that it's simply not very profitable selling Wi-Fi service many places already offer -- for free. Municipal operations looking to improve regional connectivity have instead shifted their attention to fiber networks. Hollywood, Florida paid $3.8 million to a company named Johnson Controls for a Wi-Fi network that has never actually worked. The network suffered from what appears to be the company's ability to find enough places to mount hardware that didn't suffer from significant interference from existing towers and buildings.

Not only do locals get to stare at an SSID for a network that doesn't work, in some instances the network trampled over existing wireless broadband services that actually worked:
Julie Good, a Cleveland Street resident, says the broken network interfered with her Internet service provider and she emailed the city April 30 asking for help but never heard back. "The signal from my AT&T router is being blocked by the Hollywood wireless network and AT&T states it cannot be fixed with their equipment," she wrote. In a telephone interview Thursday, Good said: "It was expensive, annoying and frustrating. Nobody could figure out what the problem was." After five days without Internet service, AT&T instructed Good to buy a new router that could cancel out Hollywood's wireless. She's since remedied the problem.
Johnson Controls is quoted as saying they're currently working with the city to "close out any remaining issues with the Wi-Fi portion of the project." The results could be a large settlement paid by Johnson Controls for making promises about a network they could never get working.

topics flat nest 


Centereach, NY

1 recommendation

The problem with WiFi and offloading too

WiFi is great for on premises coverage. But I don't believe large companies should be covering large areas and hogging what little unlicensed wireless spectrum is available to consumers. It's guaranteed to interfere with private usage of the spectrum as it did in Hollywood.

This goes for utility meters and any other device as well.

Re: The problem with WiFi and offloading too

That's a problem with unlicensed spectrum. Assuming max power limits are satisfied, one is subject to being stepped on by another radiator. It would be nice is knowledgeable engineers were good stewards of the crowded spectrum when building out these networks, but that tends to make the problem more challenging and costly.

Chesterfield, MO

Re: The problem with WiFi and offloading too

The experience might have been positive if the network actually worked and worked well. Instead of the customer complaining about their own service being blocked, they could have cancelled that service and pocketed the savings.

Santa Rosa, CA
I believe the frequency utility meters are on are licensed, at least in my area/state.

San Diego, CA
·Cox HSI


They put wifi in the wrigleyville neighborhood of chicago. (via at&t)
On the off chance i can connect to it, it either never works or its slower than my old earthlink dialup account. (it's ran by at&t so big shock there..)
The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult. The day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.
Alden Nowlan



wrong technology

Wifi wasnt meant for community wifi, but for residential. At 2.4 ghz (or so) it won't penetrate properly to so the job. On top of that the backhaul was probably weak so there's a problem.

If they used the right routers they would have beamforming and wouldn't trample on everyone's stuff.

Johnson Controls is a HUGE company. They are trying to get into home automation and their first run products are a nightmare. I tried a thermostat (wifi NG. They are not ready for prime time.

In any case the whitespace and 802.11ac (even better 802.22) can definitely work due to the lower frequencies, more advanced tech, beamforming, and interference handshake. They are just a little too early. And don't forget that backhaul like Sprint....



Hollywood, CA??

Sounds just like Hollywood, FL...

Bloom County

Re: Hollywood, CA??

Well- since it IS a story about Hollywood, FL

" Hollywood, Florida paid $3.8 million to a company named Johnson Controls for a Wi-Fi network that has never actually worked.[/b] "

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain