MetroFi is the latest to pull out of muni-Wi-Fi

The company announced Friday it's ending service in most of the areas it served, including major cities in California, Oregon, and Illinois, becoming the latest casualty of the muni-Wi-Fi bubble.

A message on MetroFi's Web site today indicated the company was dropping both its free and premium services effective Friday for the cities of Concord, Cupertino, Foster City, and Sunnyvale in California, and Naperville, Illinois. Remaining under MetroFi control, if only for the time being, are wireless networks in Riverside, Calif. and Aurora, Ill.

The company said it was in the process of negotiating with the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara, Calif., in order to keep those networks running. A message on the page for the Portland network, the company's largest, indicated talks were ongoing with a third-party provider.

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That may just be a cover for an eventual shutdown there too -- Portland officials claim MetroFi has told them the network would be shut down on June 30.

In Portland, the writing has been on the wall since February of this year. That's when the company stopped building out the network after reportedly only covering 30 percent of the city.

In mid-may, MetroFi warned that if it could not find buyers for its networks, it would be forced to shut them down. From the looks of Friday's news, no buyers have been found.

AT&T's hand in the Riverside network -- the two companies worked together in July 2006 to make it a reality -- could be saving Wi-Fi service there. Aurora had been scheduled to also be part of those cities to be disconnected, however local media reports that the city is still attempting to save the project.

MetroFi is so far not commenting on what the future holds for the company overall, and has ignored press requests for comment. But it's clear that the future is bleak for MetroFi, considering municipal wireless in the US seems to be a failed concept at least in its current form.

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