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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Computer Consulting News: City of Minneapolis Chooses US Internet to Provide Wi-Fi Network

The city of Minneapolis recently announced it will sign a computer consulting contract with an 11 year-old Minnetonka-based ISP, US Internet. The company has Wi-FI experience and will be helping build a comprehensive wireless network for the city.

Computer consulting and ISP company US Internet is scheduled to build and operate a $20 million Minneapolis Wi-Fi network and will give those interested in the service high-speed Internet service for just $20 per month. The city staff was slated to offer this as an option to the Ways and Means Committee earlier in the week and vote on it today.

According to computer consulting experts and city staff, this new wireless network will help improve services in the city and make Internet access and resources possible even for those with very low incomes. The city is expected to pay US Internet $2.2 million up-front and $1/25 million per year so key city agencies and police and fire emergency systems could be major hubs on the new network. The city expects to make back the money it will put down up-front within the next ten years. Computer consulting specialists at US Internet expects it could sign up 18 percent of 168,000 households in the Minneapolis area over the course of the next five years.

This contract is unconventional because it sets business Internet rates for the period of ten years. Consumers are guaranteed broadband service at the same price as dial-up, and US Internet guarantees 1 million bps download and upload speeds. Business customers get the same service for $30 per month, though US Internet expects many may not sign up because of the problems associated with splitting up speed levels among many employees. City employees will get service for $12 per month. Not included in this price is a US Internet wireless modem, purchased for $75 or rented for $5 per month. The city plans to make the service available in many public parks and community centers as well.

Major competitors include Qwest, which offers a slower speed through other ISPs and cable TV company Comcast. For more information on US Internet and this developing story, please visit the attached link.

Blogged By: Joshua Feinberg