MetroFi, which is building a $15 million, 134 square mile “free” WiFi network in Portland, Oregon (pop: 560,000) is scheduled to launch their initial network next Tuesday, reports The Oregonian.
MetroFi plans to introduce its service at a “wire cutting” at 11:30 Tuesday morning in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The company will be joined by Mayor Tom Potter and Commissioner Dan Saltzman, whose office shepherded the project through its final stages.
Three years in the planning, the project won unanimous approval from the Portland City Council in July. MetroFi’s contract with the city requires the network to provide downloads at 1 megabit per second, several times faster than dial-up but a fifth the speed of cable modems and some DSL Internet access.
MetroFi has been quietly setting up the network’s initial phase for several weeks, mounting 18-inch-tall Wi-Fi antennas atop traffic signals around downtown and in Southeast Portland. The company says service will be available Tuesday in parts of the city near Pioneer Courthouse Square and in the Buckman, Lloyd and Kerns neighborhoods.
MetroFi, offers two tiers; a “free” tier (with integrated advertising) and a pay tier for $19.95/month (without ads). MetroFi service is also available in Cupertino, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, California. Portland will be MetroFi’s largest city cloud to date.
To access the network outdoors, an ordinary Wi-Fi card in a laptop may do. Indoors, and in areas more than a few hundred feet from a Wi-Fi antenna, an external client and antenna, costing between $50-$150, may be required.
MetroFi looks to have about 50 SkyPilot nodes currently installed. The SkyPilot nodes use a 400 mW, 2.4 GHz omnidirectional WiFi radio for public access. A second, 5.8 GHz radio provides the mesh backhaul (using switchable 5.8Ghz directional antennas).
Related DailyWireless articles on MetroFi include; Portland MetroFi + Microsoft Ads, Testing Municipal Networks, MetroFi Backers Confident, Portland MetroFi Antennas, Power for Portland WiFi, Google WiFi SitRep, Portland WiFi Glitch, WiFi Ad Nets, AT&T + MetroFi, Portland Votes for MetroFi, and Portland Chooses MetroFi for 134 Mile Cloud.