MuniWireless today announced its third-annual Municipal Wireless State-of-the-Market Report at the MuniWireless07:Silicon Valley conference in Santa Clara, California. The survey of U.S. municipal wireless networks states that cities will spend more than $329 million this year on municipal wifi. The market grew 35% this year compared to 2006, and expenditures should exceed $900 million by 2010. However, these numbers are lower than had been predicted in last year's report, and several major cities including San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia have either delayed or revised their wifi plans.
"...Despite some setbacks, the market has continued to grow by strong percentages," notes Esme Vos, MuniWireless founder. "The bottom line is that networks that are up and running are delivering real, tangible value to their communities, and decision-makers are generally quite satisfied with the positive impact of these networks on government operations, in particular."
Much of the early enthusiasm for municipal wifi focused on free public access, but the report indicates that free wifi growth has leveled off. The strongest growth will be in new applications such as public safety networks for fire and police, as well as utility apps (automatic meter reading and so on) and paid public access (retail or mobile business wifi).
In gathering data for the SOMR 2007 report, Muniwireless surveyed 163 U.S. municipal networks that are either already up and running or are schedule for deployment within the next 36 months. The company states that this is the largest survey of it kind. The survey participants reported higher levels of satisfaction with the wifi networks deployed thus far, compared to a year ago. However, compared to last year, more participants are now concerned about future network performance and unclear ROI scenarios.
The 2007 Municipal Wireless State of the Market Report can be purchased online at http://www.muniwireless.com/article/articleview/13/1/24/.