Despite glowing out-of-town notices in Philadelphia, San Francisco and New Orleans, municipal wireless advocates are concerned that the show might flop on Broadway. That’s why some of the most vocal proponents of municipal wireless, including Andrew Rasiej, a municipal technology consultant in New York, are urging city officials there to delay, or perhaps halt, any muni wireless plans. “The worst thing that could happen is for the city to try to build one these networks and have it fail,” Rasiej said. “It would set the whole muni Wi-Fi movement way back.” In other words, failure on as visible a stage as the Big Apple would so shake the doctrinal foundation of the municipal wireless movementÃ¢â?¬â??that local governments can do a better job than the competitive market at delivering reliable, inexpensive broadband service–that it’s best if muni didn’t go there at all.
Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.