Portland, Oregon's Wi-Fi Has 20,000 Users

By Eric Griffith

June 06, 2007

Good news, for once, as MetroFi touts 20,000 registered users in six months.

While metro-scale Wi-Fi networks continue to take a beating due to deployment roadblocks and snags, another type of woe -- lack of end users -- gets a momentary reprieve. MetroFi announced today that its network in Portland, Oregon has 20,000 registered users, 11,200 of whom used it for a total of 131,000 hours -- averaging 94 minutes per session -- in May 2007.

That was a 40% increase in users from April. In May, MetroFi also activated 70 new mesh nodes.

MetroFi operates the network through a partnership with the city of Portland. They offer free wireless to users who watch their targeted (regional/local) advertisements powered by Microsoft’s MSN. Those who want higher-bandwidth connections and no ads have to pay for it.

Right now, the network only covers 20% of the city. Once the network is completed in 2008, MetroFi claims 500,000 residents should be able to use it -- Wikipedia says the population of the city is 562,690.

MetroFi started expanding from a two-square-mile pilot downtown on April 11 once it got a Certificate of Acceptance from the City. It’s been almost two years since the city first said it would issue a request for proposal to vendors to install a citywide Wi-Fi network.

In April, MetroFi said it would be changing its way of doing business in the future by requiring municipalities to be a bigger part of the picture, such as becoming an anchor tenant of the network. However, the Portland deal is probably not affected, since it was worked out in 2006.

Details for Portland users are at metrofiportland.com, including a coverage map. MetroFi’s other city deals include Concord, Cupertino, Foster City, Riverside, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale in California, plus Aurora and Naperville, Illinois.

Originally published on .

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