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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 16, 2008 8:52 AM. The previous post in this blog was And the scam goes on. The next post in this blog is Naturally. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Portland admits it blew $250K on "free" wi-fi

First time we've seen that number. And of course, if they're owning up to $250K, the real costs are doubtlessly higher.

Comments (13)

Jack -- Here's how the money was spent...Mike

Thanks, Mike. I had missed that one.

Funny how "$267K plus other staff time not counted" becomes $250K. The way the nuns taught me to round, it would have been "$270K plus other staff time not counted."

Anyway, I'm glad to have documented here the fact that the common city defense "this didn't cost the city anything" is clearly false.

Very disappointing. I had been told by Saltzman's office that no city money was spent. I guess if it's under a million, it isn't real money.

The real shame here, I think, is that the Personal Telco Project, a national leader in grassroots wifi infrastructure building, lost all its reason for being while we all waited for wireless "Go-dot gov."

That's the sustainable way to do it -- and the effective way, too. Anyone who's used a PersonalTelco node can attest, they're vastly superior to the MetroFi nodes.

That'll be a lot of momentum to build back up. Knowing Portland, it'll still happen, but this MetroFi interlude has been a pretty major setback. And of course now, the one thing the City could have provided -- funding for reaching lower-income areas -- will not be a popular option.

It's like when CoP/PDC says that the next budget period of SoWhat will be costing $140M but doesn't include the $18M of administrative costs nor the debt service costs.

It's like when Sam says the tram only cost the taxpayers $8.5M but doesn't include the design competition costs, architect/engineer costs, land costs, financing costs, city staff costs, etc.

Like when Sam says the proposed NW Flanders Ped/Bike move would cost $5M but actual costs were approaching $10M.

actual costs were approaching $10M

Source please? Considering the point about rounding above, it would be quite ironic to fabricate such a number.

Personal Telco is alive and well, despite receiving no corporate welfare from the city.

Ok a little WhatIf math time for everyone...

Back in 2005 the PTP (personal Telco Project) was given a 15k grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust. With it they unwired a chuck of the Mississippi neighborhood
http://www.personaltelco.net/NodeMississippi

It is still up and running as I write this.

The city spent 270k of taxpayer funds and in return we have....nothing.

Even with the bloat of possibilities you could figure that for 270K you might have had 10 neighborhoods of access.

And what are the lessons learned we are hearing form the press?

-tomhiggins

What about the millions of dollars of public right-of-way fees the CoP didn't charge MetroFi.

Ask Comcast what that costs per city block.

Free my a$$.

My thoughts on this whole MetroFi thing:

1. It never worked. EVER. I tried, from multiple devices. Calling this Wi-Fi was an insult to certified WiFi equipment. I'd be surprised if this stuff actually gained WiFi certification from Agilent Labs, and I guarantee that if it did, it wouldn't in whatever configuration that they're using in Portland.

2. If they shut it down, fine. Seize all the equipment that is on the city-owned right-of-way that the company didn't pay for. Sell it on eBay to make back your $267,000.

Seize all the equipment that is on the city-owned right-of-way that the company didn't pay for. Sell it on eBay to make back your $267,000.

Nah, give it all to Portland Telco, and they will make it work. Call it a charitable donation.

Thanks for the kind donations...but....

Russell and Caleb , who are PTP members, went out and did some testing (real testing not the bought and paid for testing figures our great daily newspaper reported on) of the Metrowhy gear...and while the gear may be solid, how it is/was deployed was not going to ever get the goals set out by Metrowhy. Taking on the gear might mean taking on all the hype/expectations surrounding the gear. Now I do not talk for the group but personally I would say..no thanks.

Thats the problem with this whole mess. Company A drums up figures and glowing plans of the future that are not technically viable and rather than dig into if it is viable or not we see articles pumping up the hype...to be followed by "ooh its not working" stories and then the "Its DEAD OMG WHY LORD WHY...and yea some single moms on food stamps are SOL..life sucks eh?" obit.

Its a news cycle, yes I get it, and in the best Howard Beals sort of way it does not surprise me.

But for anyone who was following along with the reports coming out of the field and the testing results and the general state of technical affairs (and no this is not a matter of "Im just a windows 95 using reporter, I do not know nuttn about that new fangled tech" this is a matter of digging into what your reporting about) there were no real surprises in what went down....at all.

Meanwhile the PTP is still doing what we do, so come on down and join us to help build out the community wireless networks that will truly empower the citizens...and at the very least learn how to spot the MuniFi snake oil salesmen when they come to your door.

-tomhiggins

Outrageous!! With that money they could have given us another "Day Labor" site, or 2 or 3 more "Portland Gay Pride Parades"!


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