The High-Tech Texan Blog

Friday, August 11, 2006

BREAKING NEWS...City One Step Closer To WiFi

UPDATING THE STORY I REPORTED AT 6PM CDT THURSDAY...

Word out of City Hall is that the WiFi project is getting closer to reality. Five companies submitted bids last June to build-out the 600+ square miles of wireless connectivity.

According to an August 9 memo sent from Mayor White to City Council, two of the companies did not meet certain minimum requirements. A third company will need to be more specific about its financing capabilities and commitments to remain in competition, although it may be able to satisfy the City's concerns.

That leaves two companies currently in the running - Earthlink Municipal Networks and Convergent Broadband.

Earthlink continues to expand its municpal WiFi services with current efforts in Anaheim (just launched), Philadelphia, San Francisco and New Orleans. The Houston deal would be, by far, its largest WiFi project to date.

Convergent is a Houston group led by former Reliant Energy Chairman Don Jordan.

Both firms have put together bids with other partners for the expansive and expensive venture. Earthlink would work with Tropos Networks to provide its mesh network system and Motorola for hardware. Convergent has announced it would coordinate efforts with Tropos, IBM and Houston-based Criner-Daniels & Assoc., Inc.

The infrastructure for creating a seamless wireless network across Houston has been projected as high as $15 million. Direct negotations between the city and both companies will begin next week. According to the memo, the City is looking to "obtain the best possible terms for the public for the rapid deployment of the system; performance of the network; and a reasonable and competitive wholesale rate offered to Internet service providers."

MORE UPDATES:

Just received an email from an Earthlink spokesman...

"EarthLink is pleased to have been selected as a finalist to unwire Houston,"
said Cole Reinwand, VP of product strategy and marketing for EarthLink Municipal
Networks. "We look forward to sharing more with the City about EarthLink's
unique municipal Wi-Fi solution and how it can deliver affordable and portable
broadband service to the City's residents, visitors, workers and businesses."

4 Comments:

  • Finally something is happening. Thought that issue had died. Any news when and how much it will cost?

    By Anonymous Jon Lacritz, at 7:46 PM  

  • Always on top of this story, MG. Good update. I've been reading about the Anaheim project and it seems to be working so far.

    The Houston network will be much larger. Hope the winner has its stuff together to make it work.

    By Anonymous Scott, at 8:22 PM  

  • Will you be covering this on your show this weekend? I've got a comments that I wouldn't mind airing on the radio so everyone can hear.

    Will taxpayers be paying for this???

    By Anonymous Jeff Green, at 10:31 PM  

  • I just learned that Metro is running 10 mbps internet pipes to all their Park and ride. I'm a bit concerned that the City of Houston doesn't consider all of their options before making these bold decisions. What I mean is that if Metro is going to run this much bandwidth to their park and rides, why doesn't the CoH piggy back on this network.

    By Blogger Lance Griffith - CAP5, at 3:11 PM  

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