The Personal Telco Project is trying to do what the City of Portland failed to do by providing free wireless hotspots.
In fact, they are using the very equipment left behind by the botched collaboration between the city and MetroFi. As the Oregonian's Mike Rogoway reports:
Portland hired a Silicon Valley startup called MetroFi in 2006 to install hundreds of Wi-Fi antennas around the city. The company's investors paid the bill, which MetroFi pegged between $2 million and $3 million, hoping to profit by selling advertising on the network.
But connection quality was erratic, and Internet advertising couldn't support the cost of installing and maintaining the network. So MetroFi shut it down and dissolved the company in 2008, leaving Portland with several hundred derelict devices scattered around the city.
The city took some equipment down itself, and hired contractors to remove the rest. Most are gone now, but a few remain -- looking increasingly shaky on lampposts and traffic signals.
Personal Telco studied the devices that Portland donated to the group before identifying a project where they could be put to use.
Read the full story at Oregon Live.