St. Cloud, Florida, launched what is generally thought to be believed America’s first free citywide Wi-Fi network last month, and the 28,000 residents of the 15-mile-square Orlando suburb are still waiting for perfection. Many are still paying for their service because the free providers are still working out the kinks, like dead spots and weak signals and power outages.
About 3,500 people have signed up for the service so far; and in the month that it has been live, it has registered a total of 176,189 hours of use. The initial provider is Hewlett-Packard.
More work needs to be done to make the city’s network foolproof. The St. Cloud experience is certainly a blueprint for Philadelphia, San Francisco, and other cities planning to offer free Wi-Fi.