St Louis Park WiFi Fails

Last week I was saying that what we need to hear about is some case studies of unsuccessful FTTH projects. Well, today I read about the failures in the St Louis Park WiFi project. The last I heard it wasn’t going well – and it seems that the situation hasn’t changed. It sounds as if the network isn’t working, the publically placed equipment is still ugly as sin, and the project has been expensive.

Well I was reminded of the project in a post from someone called Freedom Dogs. His decsripiton of the WiFi equipment on the street was great when he said it “looked like an 8th grade science project.” I’m going to go out on a limb and admit that I’m probably more liberal than Freedom Dog. His last line quotes another resource and sums up the tenor of his article:

FFM has a summary graph that I could not put better myself: The simple lesson: All taxpayers are put at extraordinary risk when local government gets involved in these risky projects.

My focus might not be so much on government getting involved in risky projects. Just yesterday I talked about how Kentucky risked getting involved in broadband and won. I would focus on the need to mitigate risk.

It seems as if the big hiccup with St Louis Park was that they selected a vendor they didn’t like – or ended up not liking. Also, they were going to be the first to go green and get broadband in one fell swoop. It seems to me that maybe they needed to do more research at the front end to perhaps choose a different contractor for the work or to re-think the go green aspect.

This entry was posted in Community Networks, MN, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

3 thoughts on “St Louis Park WiFi Fails

  1. We heard all the same logic with electrification – too great a risk for local government. Well, those that waited for the private setor often took a bigger risk and many of those towns aren’t around any longer. Risk is around us, I agree on the need to find ways of mitigating it.

    The private sector cannot solve our broadband problem alone.

  2. I agree with Chris, and as for successful local government telecom. I would look no futher than my own home which is wired by Burlington Telecom of Burlington, VT. Burlington Telecom has just passed 4,000 customers and saved residence over 1 million dollars on their telecom bills.

  3. I like hearing about the failures with the successes because I think it helps us mitigate those risks. The smart government looks at what didn’t work as well as what did. What I’d really like to hear it what St Louis Park is going to do next – dust themselves off and try again, I hope.

    Burlington is a good example of sharing a recipe for success. Burlington made a lot of right choices and they had very knowledgeable leadership and have been gracious about sharing how success was won.

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