It’s been a long time since I’ve written about Lompoc, California which has been unfairly branded a “failure”. The city does have a citywide Wi-Fi network (called LompocNet) and it does NOT have a FTTH network, which I reported back in 2004 when they were thinking of spending several million dollars for a high-speed broadband network.
Here’s the latest on Lompoc’s muni Wi-Fi network:
- 7.2 square miles (18.6 square kilometers) covered
- Cost of subscription: $16 per month (billed via the electric utility, includes CPE from Pepwave); $10 for 30 days or $5 for 48 hours (paid via credit card)
- Who buys short-term subscription plans? Many contractors (who work for Vandenburg Air Force Base or the federal prison) enjoy Wi-Fi access everywhere and those who are in short-term apartments, where they can’t get DSL or cable without long-term contracts, also like the service.
- They have 1450 subscribers as of January 2009.
- They use 182 Tropos mesh nodes and 33 Tropos gateways, Aptilo’s gateway/network management software, and Motorola Canopy (35 base stations) for backhaul.
- After the city announced plans to deploy FTTH (because many areas did not have cable or DSL), lo and behold, Comcast started rolling out cable service. It became difficult for the city to justify spending millions of dollars on FTTH.
- They are installing wireless electric utility meters for the wireless AMR project. More than 52% of households have the new meters. They use iTron’s equipment to collect the meter data. They are also installing wireless water meters.
- They have Tropos mobile Wi-Fi routers in police cars and are considering using the Wi-Fi network for video surveillance.
- The network cost $4 million to deploy (the price includes equipment cost) but it’s cheaper to deploy a similar network today because equipment costs have dropped and people have learned a lot about deploying these networks (avoiding the mistakes that Lompoc made).
- Annual operating cost: $800,000
- In a recent survey conducted by the city, users gave the network very high marks in value for money (the city asked users to rate the value of the service and on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, the average score was 4.65).