Microsoft, MetroFi Team Up to Offer Free WiFi

    November 15, 2006

Resident of Portland, Oregon with a WiFi enabled PC or laptop will be able to access the broadband network that will deliver speeds up to 1 Mbps for downloads and up to 256 Kbps for uploads.

“MetroFi’s free WiFi platform is creating an exciting new Internet access ecosystem that is more inclusive, ubiquitous and flexible for both consumers and advertisers,” said Sam Klepper, general manager in the MSN Media Network Group at Microsoft.

“With this Portland pilot we will deliver MSN services that help connect customers to the people and information they care about, breaking down connectivity barriers for our collective customers.”

The network will operate by transmitting data via access points that will be mounted on street light poles throughout the city.

MetroFi currently operates wireless broadband networks Foster City, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, downtown San Jose and Concord, California – offering free WiFi through an ad-supported business model.

“Microsoft’s support of the Portland network further reinforces the validity of advertising-supported municipal Wi-Fi. We’re confident that consumers will appreciate the added value of Microsoft’s locally relevant MSN content and services,” said Chuck Haas, CEO and co-founder of MetroFi.

“MetroFi networks combine advanced advertising technologies with leading network designs to deliver ad-supported wireless Internet networks that are fast and free for everyone.”

Microsoft and MetroFi aren’t the only ones making recent news by teaming up to offer free WiFi services.

Google and Earthlink have been pursuing plans to establish a free WiFi network in San Francisco for the past two years.

Their efforts have been met by a flurry of venomous politicians and an overly concerned citizenship concerned more about convincing Google to provide round-trip transportation for children to the San Francisco Zoo, and less about a free wireless network.

For Microsoft’s sake, I hope the socio-political landscape in Portland is a little more inviting.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.