NEWS: California City Will Take Over Abandoned Muni Wi-Fi System

The city council of Milpitas, California has unanimously approved a city takeover of the municipal wi-fi system installed a year ago by Earthlink. The company is abandoning the Milpitas infrastructure as it exits the muni wi-fi sector nationwide.

Milpitas plans to maintain and operate the wi-fi system purely for city functions--including fire and police communications and city business operations such as billing, permitting, and internal communications. That's a big departure from the system's original purpose, provision of free wi-fi to all Milpitas residents.

Earthlink says it spent $1.8 million to install the 311 nodes that make up the Milpitas system. It estimated the system's current, installed value at $800,000.

Milpitas Vice-Mayor Bob Livengood said the city never intended to get into the wi-fi business. He doesn't think it's likely it will continue to operate the system in the long run.

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John Navas
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