CMT, municipalities and WiFi deployments…is this the road to follow?

This week, on Monday and Tuesday, took place the 4th meeting about Telecomunications and Municipalities. This event took place in Madrid and one of the topics of discussion was the deployment of municipal WiFi Networks.

I will not enter into the analysis about the continuos discussions between municipalities and private operators about the market deviations that those networks create… I am a technical guy and therefore, I will get focused on the technical side. WiFi is and will be an innovative technology and has completely changed the way we deploy corporate networks but… is this the right technology to give broadband access in municipalities?

I think WiFi is not the right way to follow to deploy access solutions for municipalities, because it really competes against existing operators and does not offer any benefit. Bandwidth is similar to ADSL (remember that WiFi is a shared media) and it does canibalise commercial broadband services.

I can not understand why the municipality of Barcelona invests 5M EUR in a Wireless network when 100% of Barcelona has ADSL access and also there are several zones with FTTH coberage.

FTTH networks do offer unvaluable benefits in terms of indirect business generation. I do not think no one will go to a residential or industrial area because it offers WiFi connectivity…

Also, municipalities should be enablers for the deployment of new access infrastructures and this means offering open access FTTH networks and not trying to compete against traditional operators using WiFi access networks that do not offer any benefit compared to existing technologies. I do not see any operator wanting to use a municipal WiFi network to reach their final customers…

Finally, the business model for WiFi networks is ever unclearer than for open access FTTH networks… At least, with FTTH networks the municipality can resell the ducting and offer bitstream services…

Anyway, they are not paying for their experimental WiFi deployments so… who cares…

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