Wireless Minneapolis: Municipal Wi-Fi

Widespread Municipal Wi-Fi in Minneapolis

While much of Minneapolis has had access to city-wide wireless Internet since 2007 when the city completed its initial installation of wireless broadcasters around the city, the Uptown neighborhood was left out of these initial stages. But signs are now emerging that Uptown Minneapolis will finally be included in the wireless coverage.

Antennae have cropped up on poles around Uptown and Whittier. Additionally these antennae are broadcasting a periodic SSID that says "USI Wireless Coming Soon." USI is of course the company contracted to install and manage wireless coverage for Minneapolis.

While it seemed for a while that USI was dragging its feet on installations, they seem to be on track to hit their last target–full installation by Fall of 2008. To purchase access to the city-wide wireless, one can visit their website.

The exciting news for residents is that this access injects some much-needed competition into the high-speed internet market in Minneapolis. Comcast and Qwest have had it easy.

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This is an update. As of April 4, 2009, wireless high speed is up and running for the Whittier neighborhood, east of Lyndale. The SSID now says "City of Minneapolis Wi-Fi."


Municipal Wi-Fi is now widespread, but is it here to stay? The Star Tribune reports that the bandwidth the city purchased as "anchor" payment is largely underutilized. Will they continue to foot the bill if they aren't using it? It is hard to imagine that USI will stay in business with out the city.

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