I’m putting together a paper on municipal wireless networks (Muni Wi-fi) for INFS 750. Here’s the first small batch of articles I tracked down for the annotated bibliograpjy assignment:

Mandviwalla, M., Jain, A., Fesenmaier, J., Smith, J., Weinberg, P., and Myers, G. (2008). Municipal broadband wireless networks. Communications of the ACM, 51(2), 77-80.

This article offers a useful overview of technical, economic, and political issues facing municipalities considering the implementation of a municipal wireless network (MWN). The authors know whereof they speak: they participated in an expert group that developed a proposal for the Philadelphia MWN experiment.

Mandviwalla, M., Jain, A., & Banker, R. D. (2007). Government as catalyst: Can it work again with wireless Internet access? Public Administration Review, 67(6), 993-1005. Retrieved February 8, 2009, from http://www.ezproxy.dsu.edu:2108/pqdweb?index=1&did=1405254821&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=4&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1234132653&clientId=18865.

Again, we encounter the authors involved in the Philadelphia MWN project, This article offers greater detail on the planning involved in the Philadelphia project.

Adaikalam, A., Azad, M., Chen, C., Thomas, J., and Schwengler, T. (2008). Municipal wireless data network in Longmont, CO. In Proceedings of the third ACM international workshop on Wireless network testbeds, experimental evaluation and characterization (pp. 19-24). San Francisco, California, USA: ACM. doi: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1410077.1410082.

This article provides a case study comparing Wi-Fi and EVDO implementations in Longmont, CO. The paper includes plenty of the technical detail that I require to fill the gaps in my technical knowledge. With a population of over 71,000, Longmont’s experience with MWN may not apply directly to experiences in South Dakota’s small rural communities.

Titch, S. (2008, October). Beyond municipal wireless. Freeman, 58(8), 34-36. Retrieved February 8, 2009, from http://www.ezproxy.dsu.edu:2108/pqdweb?index=0&did=1591191551&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1234131989&clientId=18865.

This article provides an update on several communities backing away from MWN projects during as the economy goes sour in 2008. The author lacks academic IT credentials (he is a journalism and English major-though a darn good one-from Syracuse University); however, he has focused on writing about IT and telecommunications and is now a telecom policy analyst for the Reason Foundation. His conservative/free-market perspective may at least provide balance to my own pro-government, pro-social policy leanings.

Dingwall, C. (2007). Municipal broadband: Challenges and perspectives. Computer and Internet Lawyer, 24(7), 1-18. Retrieved February 8, 2009, from http://www.ezproxy.dsu.edu:2108/pqdweb?index=7&did=1303085931&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1234133045&clientId=18865.

Municipal wireless is a policy issue as much as a technology issue. Talking about our technological ability to deploy such systems is mostly academic without consideration of the legal context in which we might deploy such systems. The author of this article, a lawyer who specializes in information technology and telecommunications law, addresses legal as well as technical and economic challenges for MWN implementations. He discusses justifications; speed, feature, and price considerations; the status of various projects; and relevant legislation, case law, and regulations.

Aaron, C. (2008, August). The promise of municipal broadband. The Progressive, 72(8), 28-31. Retrieved February 8, 2009, from http://www.ezproxy.dsu.edu:2108/pqdweb?index=2&did=1532920291&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1234133045&clientId=18865.

Aaron (2008) counters the pessimism of Titch (2008) with a more encouraging look at the progress of various wireless and wired efforts to bring broadband to the public. This article provides another rich list of communities trying to expand their citizens’ access to the Internet. Aaron also make the point that “the biggest obstacles to universal, affordable Internet access aren’t economic or technical. They’re political.”

This bibliography can certainly use some more academic references. At the same time, technology and practitioners are moving faster than academic publishing cycles. It will be worthwhile to update the above references by searching current news stories for updates on MWN projects in Philadelphia, Longmont, and other cities discussed. As Titch (2008) reports, worsening economic conditions may put MWN deployment on hold; then again, a single amendment to the stimulus package and a stroke of President Obama’s pen this month could make billions available for the immediate development of public broadband infrastructure.