Date: March 29, 2007
Topic: Unofficial evaluation/report by Personal Telco Project, re: the two-square mile Proof of Concept, municipal Wi-Fi network that MetroFi designed, built and operates for the City of Portland (Oregon)
Comment: As part of our contract with the City of Portland, MetroFi built a state-of-the-art Proof of Concept network over two square miles of downtown Portland, in advance of a city-wide deployment that will cover approximately 95% of the city. When completed, the network will offer the convenience and mobility of almost anywhere/anytime Internet access to Portland's residents and local businesses. This municipal wireless network is also designed to help the City of Portland improve productivity for mobile city workers and city services.
To evaluate the Proof of Concept network, the City of Portland selected an independent firm, Uptown Services instead of Personal Telco Project, which also submitted a bid in response to a city RFP (request for proposal). Municipal wireless is still in its infancy, and there are few qualified experts in this new area of city-wide network assessment, which is significantly more complex than local hotspot testing. MetroFi respects the City's vendor choice, and awaits the results of Uptown Services' impartial evaluation within the next few weeks.
Personal Telco's own unofficial testing effort is clearly not independent or impartial, and we can only presume that it's driven by their perception that we are a competitor in their local hotspot deployment project. We don't view Personal Telco as a competitor, but rather as a partner who can offer indoor coverage in locations where perhaps we can't and can also offer Portland residents an additional option for free Wi-Fi access a great outcome for Portland's residents.
In the meantime, the current MetroFi coverage area continues to attract more and more Portland users every day, and total usage has tripled since its launch in December 2006. This week, MetroFi launched a new local network portal, www.MetroFiPortland.com, where residents can learn about coverage updates, network information and customer stories. We are also looking forward to turning on the hundreds of additional Wi-Fi access points that have been installed in Portland, but await the completion of the Proof of Concept testing and the City's issuance of the Certificate of Acceptance.