As Wifi Grows, So Do the PR Attacks

Posted on April 25, 2006. Filed under: Web/Tech |

An AP story ran yesterday suggesting there are problems with a city-wide Wifi network in St. Cloud, Florida.  What is amazing here is that the writer talks to 3 people total and then infers many grand assumptions.

Here are the facts:

  1. In a few short weeks over 3600 residents of St. Cloud have registered for the service.  This is a higher penetration rate (by an order of magnitude) that EVDO has seen in any city.
  2. The performance of the network is as high as 10X over EVDO downstream, and 100X upstream.
  3. The gentleman that complained is outside the coverage zone and can’t get service.  In other words, teh big negative here is that more people want it than can get it.  Hmmm….
  4. EVDO is not planned to be dployed in a town this size (28K residents) anytime soon.  The carriers are focused on the higher denisty cities.

Talk to the people and policy makers in St. Cloud and they will tell you this is a huge success.  They post updates frequently.

Esme gets is right over at MuniWireless.

Better performance than EVDO at a much lower cost.  You won’t stop this with an AP article.  Are their issues?  Sure, but I drop 5 cell calls a day in Silicon Valley and that technology (cellular voice) is over 25 years old. 

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One Response to “As Wifi Grows, So Do the PR Attacks”

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I’m not sure why the AP story has gotten this kind of negative response. The first few grafs of the story track one bad experience, and then the story develops into how well the network is working, with good numbers, uptake, hours, etc.

I’m quoted in the piece several times talking about how education helps set expectations. Apparently, they have done a LOT of education in St. Cloud about what the service should be like and what to do if you’re not getting good coverage.

The story, to me, only *leads* as a negative, but blossoms into a rave review. I was curious why it was so widely picked up, even for an AP story, but I guess people read a few grafs and then move on.


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    …focusing on the evolution and economics of high technology business and strategy. By day, I am a venture capitalist at Benchmark Capital.

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