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MetroFi Antennas Could Cost $60,000 to Remove
Portland taxpayers may foot the bill for failed wireless network
by KathrynV 12:03PM Saturday Aug 09 2008
Portland had high hopes of being one of those cities where citywide wireless networks might actually work but those hopes did not pan out. Earlier this summer, Wi-Fi provider MetroFi announced that the company could not afford to continue operating the network there. Attempts to sell it off failed and the network was shut down. That’s not the end of the story, though. In order to launch the network, MetroFi had to set up 600 (arguably unsightly) antennas throughout the city. The company had claimed that these antennas would be removed by the end of July but they remain up; MetroFi says that they still plan to follow through on removing them but city staff members report fears that the company is too strapped for cash to keep their end of this bargain. Estimates for removal are around $90,000; subtracting out a $30,000 bond for removal that was part of the MetroFi contract would still mean that Portland’s taxpayers could pay up to $60,000 to get those antennas taken down.

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patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

1 recommendation

leave it up

Leave it up. Maybe someone will come by that sees a salvage/resale value in the APs. Those Moto Canopys look expensive. Another possibility is someone restarted the service.
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: leave it up

City should make them leave them. Find some local ISP that is willing to use the network. Why pay to take the things down when they can be used.

james1

join:2001-02-26
Seriously, supposing you build a store somewhere and go out of business, you dont tear the damn thing down, you sell it so someone else can use it, and hopefully they do better.
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

Re: leave it up

Lets say you own a building, you lease it to a supermarket, the supermarket closes down, do you immediately tear down the building, or do you keep it vacant for a few months/years while looking for a new tenant to use the building?
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: leave it up

most of the time the supermarket has a multi-year lease on it that they still pay for. But i wouldn't tear it down. Re-lease it. But the problem is that the ones that have the multi-year leases will sublease and then what more than what the building is worth.

There are many like that in Northwest Ohio. Especially an old Foodtown store that wants $5.00psq the building is over 10years old! No way is anyone going to pay that. Walmart wants almost the same for their old store. But they also renew the lease every time it comes up to expire due to they can keep out any competition like Target that wanted it.

RARPSL

join:1999-12-08
Suffern, NY

Re: leave it up

said by hottboiinnc:

most of the time the supermarket has a multi-year lease on it that they still pay for. But i wouldn't tear it down. Re-lease it. But the problem is that the ones that have the multi-year leases will sublease and then what more than what the building is worth.

There are many like that in Northwest Ohio. Especially an old Foodtown store that wants $5.00psq the building is over 10years old! No way is anyone going to pay that. Walmart wants almost the same for their old store. But they also renew the lease every time it comes up to expire due to they can keep out any competition like Target that wanted it.
The solution to the later problem is a "Use it or Lose it" clause in the Lease renewal terms. If they have left the property vacant at renewal time, they can be optionally be denied the right to renew the lease (or they can be allowed to renew for the normal period with the a "cut short" provision such as the one in my next sentence). There can also be a possible clause that can allow the owner to foreclose on a vacant/abandoned property at the anniversary date (ie: The lease can be terminated at the next anniversary of the signing after the end of the property being vacated for a set period of time).

As to the sub-lease situation, this can be handled by a a ban or restrictions in the Lease.
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: leave it up

Generally companies do not wait for the lease to come up for renew. They renew them well before the time due to always ensuring they have an office/store or what ever. Major companies do this even with vacant buildings. It keeps them from losing them.

Dogfather
Premium
join:2007-12-26
Laguna Hills, CA

TINSTAAFL

Should be a lesson to greedy gov'ts who always expect something for nothing.

rec9140
Provoice just DO it

join:2003-07-29
Mulberry, FL

You want wireless???

If you want wireless then you can't go around whining about "....(arguably unsightly) antennas ..."

No antennas, no towers and your i(diot)phone doesn't work.

I suggest they leave it up and turn it into a city net for city services or take it over. I'd gladly approve of tax money for something I would use versus all the stupid stuff I pay for and have no use for.
--
Ban all copyright, trademarks, and IP laws!//Lorem ipsum ei pro stet equidem labores, at enim animal expetenda nec. Ea vix argumentum dissentiunt, usu esse ridens ex.
smcallah

join:2004-08-05
Home

If these cities want to offer something for free...

Why not electricity or water service for free? Those are more important than Internet access, right? And the infrastructure is already built.

If they don't offer those services for nothing, why do they think a company can come in and offer a new service for free?

a333
A hot cup of integrals please

join:2007-06-12
Rego Park, NY
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Re: If these cities want to offer something for free...

When will these idiots learn that WiFi isn't a large-scale last-mile technology!!! Hell, it has trouble working in a HOUSE, so how can you provide several square miles with blanket coverage? At least use WiMax. And that's besides the point. Fact is, this money can go into much more important stuff, education and public safety for instance. Broadband isn't a utility YET, and it sure as hell ain't a right. If you can't afford broadband, or can't get it, use the local public library. Get used to dial-up, or shell out the money for ISDN. Use mobile BB (AT&T 3G/Sprint EV-DO). It's not the middle class' responsibility to subsidize your pr0n habit/desire to play WoW at top speeds.

insomx
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Canada

Re: If these cities want to offer something for free...

Tell that to the city of Fredericton here in NB. They have the entire city covered in free wireless. It's amazing!

a333
A hot cup of integrals please

join:2007-06-12
Rego Park, NY

Re: If these cities want to offer something for free...

And you're telling me it's free? Ad-supported? Taxpayer-supported? Deployed in areas that already get DSL/cable?

insomx
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Canada

Re: If these cities want to offer something for free...

said by a333:

And you're telling me it's free? Ad-supported? Taxpayer-supported? Deployed in areas that already get DSL/cable?
No ads. It is taxpayer supported though. All of the city is wired for DSL and Cable, but the wireless is a nice add-on for portable devices and such. It's also good enough in some areas that people don't bother signing up for DSL or Cable.

a333
A hot cup of integrals please

join:2007-06-12
Rego Park, NY
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Re: If these cities want to offer something for free...

@ john- Well, then it's definitely a waste of taxpayer money in my book. If its purpose is to provide 'mobile broadband', or a REPLACEMENT for cable/DSL, it's an epic waste of tax money. The least the (the city) could've done is use ads to at least make up for part of the cost of operating the network.

@ patcat- No amount of amplification/antennae imporvements can reasonably make citywide WiFi feasible. The reason? Doing either requires basically drowning out nearby WiFi signals, which I'm sure wouldn't lead to a pleasant reaction from WiFi network owners in the vicinity.........
I mean, sure, THEORETICALLY, you can do that. Heck, pump the power up to something like 1 Watt, and boom! You've got ~ 600-1000 ft coverage. Question? Does it sit particularly well with local residents/businesses? I highly doubt it would.
Peace,
a333

insomx
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Canada

Re: If these cities want to offer something for free...

a333- It'll only drown out one of the 12 frequencies....

viperm
Carpe Diem
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Winchester, CA

1 edit
Its obivious you dont have any clue as to WHAT you are talking about. Amplifying the AP signal with an amp does nothing but create MORE noise and also pulls in MORE noise and creates headaches! The problem is NOT with the Node its with customer laptops they only have a small if your lucky 15-30 MW card which cant talk back to an AP sitting on a pole 100Ft away!

The easiest way to circomvent this is to use Ants that have some higher gain to amplify the signals coming from the client, buy a higher power WifI card for the laptop or use things like small reapeaters that customers can buy to boost thier signal back to the node and also then that repeater acts just like I said a repeater in that local area bossting signal for everyone.

We have a hotspot system at an airport that WE designed that goes 1/4 mile with NO amplification and it picks up users in the terminals just fine! we charge for the service and were making roughly 10k per month off it till other WiFi companies came in then it became a pricing war.

The other option is to make the WIFI fixed for some users where you sell and or install a canopy or tranog CPE on theier rooftop and pull cat 5 down to thier location just like we Wisps do with out any issues. Design is key and if you dont do it right and cost effectivly you WONT make it work.

WiFi works if designed proerly that is the KEY Wimax is no different if you think your going to get miles and miles of range from WIMAX your on crack. The same thing applies its the laptops that are the weak link!

said by a333:

@ john- Well, then it's definitely a waste of taxpayer money in my book. If its purpose is to provide 'mobile broadband', or a REPLACEMENT for cable/DSL, it's an epic waste of tax money. The least the (the city) could've done is use ads to at least make up for part of the cost of operating the network.

@ patcat- No amount of amplification/antennae imporvements can reasonably make citywide WiFi feasible. The reason? Doing either requires basically drowning out nearby WiFi signals, which I'm sure wouldn't lead to a pleasant reaction from WiFi network owners in the vicinity.........
I mean, sure, THEORETICALLY, you can do that. Heck, pump the power up to something like 1 Watt, and boom! You've got ~ 600-1000 ft coverage. Question? Does it sit particularly well with local residents/businesses? I highly doubt it would.
Peace,
a333

a333
A hot cup of integrals please

join:2007-06-12
Rego Park, NY
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

1 edit

Re: If these cities want to offer something for free...

Those points are moot... how many people will actually go buy these 'higher power' WiFi cards for laptops, along with the associated high-gain antennas? I never said it's ain't possible. Just putting some common sense out there, that compared to WiMax, WiFi just doesn't cut it when creating a citywide network. It's like providing broadband to homes using cat5. Just doesn't work, or we'd have 100 Meg ethernet HSI by now.
BTW, never said WiMax goes 'miles and miles'. Just saying that, in urban environments, WiMax is just the better choice, as each tower can cover a lot more distance than even the best-designed WiFi, thus reducing costs for network operators. Sure, customers can get better WiFi cards and antennas, but if you're going to give subscribers new equipment, might as well give them WiMax equipment and reduce your own costs.
Finally, I don't even support cities doing this, especially when they're wiring areas that already get DSL and cable. I mean, BB isn't a utility, so the city shouldn't be responsible for it. They can get muni WiFi/WiMax as part of their franchise agreements with cable MSO's/telcos. But to spend/waste taxpayer money on stuff like this is just idiocy at its finest....
Peace,
a333
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

2 edits
said by a333:

When will these idiots learn that WiFi isn't a large-scale last-mile technology!!! Hell, it has trouble working in a HOUSE, so how can you provide several square miles with blanket coverage?
Use atleast 4db antenna with 200 mw client card and you will have your range. Craptacular Centrinos need not apply.
Robrr

join:2008-04-19
Guelph, ON

Metro Wifi Network

I dont get what is causing these american wifi networks to fail. I had the opportunity to use the wifi network in downtown Toronto this past week and it was pretty cool. It cost me 10 bux for the day and I had good connection speeds all day and was more than capable of doing everything I needed.

There must be something very wrong with what you guys are doing south of the border.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: Metro Wifi Network

I dunno, maybe not charging enough for the network, or offering too much for free\cheap? Or covering too large of an area compared to the benefit people would see...

But yeah, WiFi ain't a last-mile tech; citywide networks are expensive kludges. They *can* be made to work but it ain't too pretty.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
"It cost me 10 bux for the day "

That's probably why theirs works and the others fail.

DaMaGeINC
The Lan Man
Premium
join:2002-06-08
Greenville, SC
kudos:2
We fail at everything because its all about money. If someone somewhere cant get rich enough, then they scrap the project.

alchav

join:2002-05-17
Saint George, UT
Reviews:
·ooma

1 edit
said by Robrr:

There must be something very wrong with what you guys are doing south of the border.
I'm not big on Wireless, but it does have it's uses. Like you guys said, it's not a Last Mile Technology, so having realistic goals is very important. Some people feel WiFi is the Holy Grail, and everyone wants to jump on it. Without a clear Business Plan and a good Break Even Point, even if some of your customers are free, someone has to pay for it and that has to be clear and up front. When things like this fail it's obvious that no one had a plan or knew what they were doing.
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
Yes there is something wrong.

Some governments think they can extort as much money out of muni wifi ventures as they can out of cable TV. It doesn't work that way. Cities think muni wifi is a way to double their welfare programs and help their liberal white guilt and a magic fix for slums and poverty. Sorry, if you want to do that, time to increase the city's income tax, not extort the money out of muni wifi ventures.

laserjobs
Premium
join:2004-05-02
Las Vegas, NV

1 edit

Salvage

I wonder what the salvage value of these devices are? If they have over the amount to remove them, I will do it.

EDIT: Just looked on ebay and these SkyExtender's are selling for $1500/each.

600 x $1000 = $600,000 salvage!!!

Where can I contact these guys to remove them?
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Salvage

i know what id be doing late at night if i had a bucket truck... Salvage Rights!!!
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
EPS4

join:2008-02-13
Hingham, MA
If they could get $600,000 for salvage, then the city would make money by paying just $60,000 to remove them, wouldn't they?

sapo
Cruising Down Memory Lane
Premium
join:2002-09-16
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

Re: Salvage

Typical Government job, probably will sell it to someone for really cheap and they make lots of money off it as usual. I see it all the time.

bear73
Metnav... Fly The Unfriendly Skies
Premium
join:2001-06-09
Derry, NH
said by EPS4:

If they could get $600,000 for salvage, then the city would make money by paying just $60,000 to remove them, wouldn't they?
no, they won't. because they can't sell them for a profit in most cases.
perfect example of this: military computer upgrades. Every time US military upgrades their tech, they have to send it to DRMO. and DRMO will "sell" the old computers, printers, monitors to : first, other DOD services, second, other government agencies, third, public education, fourth, auctioned off by the pallett-full.
--
If ya gotta go, Go with a SMILE!
»www.thereligionofpeace.com/
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: Salvage

Thats the military. Doesnt mean cities work the same way. Many cities actually sell their surplus through an auction they set up themselves.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Yeah, no shit i will fly over there and take them down for free... Give me a call portland!!

alanhdsl
Premium
join:1999-10-09
Phoenix, AZ

Leftover antennas

There are still Ricochet antennas around Phoenix. The service shut down in 2001 and never restarted here.

Mercurybird
Premium
join:2004-06-24
Hooks, TX
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Windstream

How to do a business plan...

Let me see... I think I can do it.

Oh! Looks like I can't- Oh well!- I only lost tens of thousands of dollars. No sweat!

Business plan? Backup capital? An exit strategy?

If you build a better mousetrap they'll beat a path to you door right? Ha Ha... define better mousetrap!
--
You're an American. You get a free pass, but nobody rides for free.

Glaice
Brutal Video Vault
Premium
join:2002-10-01
North Babylon, NY

Too much?

The price is too high for remove...what is costing such a high price to REMOVE IT? Jeez.

•••

lordie
been there, done that..

join:2001-11-13
Sunnyvale, CA

Metrofi in Sunnyvale ca

Last week the MetroFi equipment had disappeared from all Sunnyvale Ca light polls. I guess they had the money to do that..
--
www.litman.com