MetroFi Teams With AT&T for Muni WiFi

The Municipal Wireless market just got more interesting. Sources close to MetroFi, a Sunnyvale, California-based start-up tell us that the company has teamed up with AT&T to design, build and operate free wireless networks in different cities. The deal is with AT&T Enterprise Services division of AT&T. Riverside, California will be first city to get a service bid from the new alliance.

This is huge deal for MetroFi, which is building wireless networks in about a dozen cities around the US. MetroFi has been viewed as a laggard in the space, even though it has snagged some big cities. The company earlier this month won a bid to build and operate a big network in Portland, Oregon. It has similar deals with San Jose, California as well. More than MetroFi, the deal could have major impact on the whole Muni Wireless space.

First of all it validates the MuniFi movement, which so far has been vehemently opposed by the incumbents. A volte face if there was any. Secondly, it also puts a serious crimp in the plans of others, namely Earthlink, which have been counting on the MuniFi business to future proof themselves.