Glenn Fleishmann of the NYT has a piece today that explores the growth of the municipal wifi movement. He focuses particularly on its evolution into a potent resource for U.S. municipal and state politicians seeking to develop the muniwifi networks that are now springing up and notes its origins in concerns for the protection of network neutrality. Gist:
Greg Richardson, president of Civitium, a consulting firm, says that movement was the impetus for government-run citywide wireless Internet plans. Mr. Richardson has been a consultant on municipal wireless policy and technical issues for Philadelphia, San Francisco and other cities.
Community wireless gave municipal planners “the validation that a lot of those ideas could work,” Mr. Richardson said. Early and continuing municipal efforts to provide small areas of free access in parks and downtown districts were and still are often created in conjunction with these community groups.
We have a nascent open wifi access group in Toronto as well – details here.