Portland gets WiFi

Written by Brett Thomas

November 17, 2006 | 15:35

Tags: #oregon #portland #wifi

Companies: #microsoft

Thanks to improvements in technology and the unarguable usefulness of the net, WiFi has started to become an omnipresent technology. It's hard these days to buy a laptop or PDA without it, and even portable media players like the Zune sport it. This ability for technology on-the-go has created a recent interest in offering access as a public service - but who would spend money to give it away?

A company named MetroFi wants to do just that. MetroFi has been responsible for rigging up entire cities before, but this time the company is doing it on a much larger scale. The company will blanket the city of Portland, Oregon with free access, but a network this size would require a little more help. Fortunately, Microsoft happily stepped up to the plate to assist.

The two companies are installing the first, most central hotspot over Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, which will be operational before the end of the year. Shortly thereafter, they will add to the network until the entirety of the city has on-the-go access for free (the target is late 2008).

The adage of "you can't get something for nothing" is still true, however. The service is paid for with revenues from the company's adCenter program, which tracks your browsing habits to send you specific, targeted advertisements while you use the service. If adverts aren't your thing, you will have the option to purchase an ad-free account for $20.00/month.

Free WiFi? Why not? Is ad-based content really so bad when you're getting a service for it? Or would you rather pay the $20.00? Tell us your thoughts on this in our forums.
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