"Earthlink and Citi Wifi are the only companies left standing after the city culled bids to cover its 60 square miles with radio signals that allow people to connect to the Internet through the air. Last week, an evaluation committee heard final presentations from the Atlanta-based Internet service provider and its small St. Petersburg competitor." "The president of Citi, Frank McCarthy, said his company came into being after helping to set up communications after Hurricane Charley. He said building such networks is all he does, though he acts as an Internet service provider for customers in Dunedin.....Citi talked of its projects in Dunedin, Treasure Island and West Palm Beach, but emphasized its technology and criticized Earthlink....committee members said they liked the fact that Citi is local, but worried about its finances, experience and professionalism......Earthlink says it will cost about $7-million for 2,400 installations around the city, the "nodes" of the network. Citi estimates nearly $8-million for its 1,770 nodes. The committee expressed doubt about Citi's funding, evidence of which was only a letter of guarantee that did not name the privately held company's investors....McLean said he tested Citi's Dunedin network himself and found it half as fast as the company claims. But even that speed is twice as fast as what Earthlink is promising as a basic retail standard, McCarthy said."
Meanwhile Wi-Fi News is reporting on 3 companies that want to provide third-party muni network evaluation.