Minneapolis Wireless: Rates Revealed Today!

The Minneapolis Ways & Means Committee met today and included a report on the wireless project, an “Update on Wi-Fi contract language” by BIS (Business Information Systems). I don’t see the actual contract yet but they did file this memo which details both residential, commercial, and wholesale rates for the system.

As I’m sure you remember from the last chapter, US Internet (USI) was chosen as the vendor for our municipal wireless.

No surprises. The basic 1Mb (up and down) connection will cost $19.95 per month. The price includes US Internet (USI) as the service provider so there are no extra monthly fees. (Set-up fee column is blank on the memo.)

This compares favorably to Qwest’s latest special (Choice DSL Deluxe) where you can get 1.5Mb (for downoads only 896Kb for uploads) service for $26.99 bundled with MSN Premium as your ISP. (Can’t find any pricing without MSN Premium.)

I pay $41 per month for Qwest’s Choice DSL Deluxe because the deals are just for new people. So USI would provide me with significant savings. I am using the USI service now and the signal has been stable. However, I need to connect computers throughout my house and it’s not clear in the pricing if there is a limit. And will the signal reach my basement office? Right now, my access node is right outside the window.

I ran speed tests this evening. USI Wi-Fi is about 985Kb up and down. My Qwest DSL signal is around 1,250Kb down and 800Kb up. (I’m disappointed in my USI speeds as not long ago, they were closer to 3Mb up and down. They must have throttled back the network.)

USI has two more service levels:

Premium 3-6Mb for $29.95
Dedicated 5-10Mb for $99.95 (monthly)

Commercial accounts are slightly more; 1Mb servie is $29.95 and Premium service $34.95. There are a couple more options too. See the memo. There’s also a Government category with the basic 1Mb service going for $12.

Wholesale prices depend on how many you’re buying with a $12.95 (monthly) charge for less than 7,500 accounts and a committment to maintain 2,500 accounts. At 7,500 accounts, you can get the 1Mb service for $10.

No information on whether they are building out the network yet. The pilot area is still live and free and you can see where the antennas on my little map.

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