Milpitas, California joins the great muni-Wi-Fi reclamation

An April 15 vote by Milpitas, California's City Council was 4-0 in favor of transferring the Earthlink Wi-Fi assets back to the city. In 30 days, Milpitas will be the among the first cities to assume ownership of Earthlink's network.

Earthlink's Milpitas launch took place in December 2006, opening the ten square mile mesh network of Tropos Wi-Fi routers to residents for rates raging from $3.95 an hour to $21.95 a month. This service will no longer be offered once Milpitas has assumed control, and total coverage will be stripped down to a size that will not present operating costs that are too restrictive.

The city is expected to provide free public access in Milpitas senior, sports, and community centers, and in Milpitas City Hall's council Chambers.

As Tropos' systems are frequently employed in public safety and surveillance networks, GPS-enabled Wi-Fi units were installed in about 30 Milpitas police cruisers and 20 emergency/fire vehicles as a part of Earthlink's network. This computer-aided emergency dispatch system will be retained under the city's ownership.

Following Earthlink's announcement that it was pulling out of its financially burdensome Municipal Wi-Fi project, participating city Corpus Christi, Texas, was the first reported interested in buying out the project, its agreement to do so was posted the same day as Milpitas'.

Other cities with an Earthlink Municipal Network deployment include Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Anaheim, as most of the other participating cities have scrapped their projects; developments on these fronts are expected to be announced soon.

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