Miami Goes WiFi (By Snowbird)

The gap between the concept and the reality of free community WiFi has recently gotten bigger in South Beach.  When the city announced it's proposed "free public access"  wireless system last July, they expected it be in place by mid 2006. Indeed, in the last few weeks two companies (IBM and Wireless Facilities Inc.) were allowed to set up mini "test" systems in two neighborhoods, with the winner to receive a $4 million contract that would allow residents to email anytime from "hot zones" around the city. Well, guess who is objecting to the whole idea and has put the city on notice that the plan may violate a state law?  Why it's Atlantic Broadband, the local "pay" Internet provider. Their lawyers cite a recently enacted state law that forbids Florida cities from charging for Internet services or selling advertising, while the city's lawyers say that since they don't plan to charge, the new law doesn't apply. For now, city officials will proceed as planned and also investigate whether Atlantic Broadband's claim is valid.  


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