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Increasingly, cities are planning publicly-accessible municipal wireless Internet networks, though most projects have not been fully implemented.
Government officials and citizens remain concerned about the repercussions of publicly-accessible networks, including privacy breaches and how much it will cost to operate the networks.
Private network providers that were initially strongly opposed to municipal plans, are now becoming involved as the architects of such networks.
Still, many municipalities interested in offering wireless find they do not have sufficient funds to do so, and surveys show that few citizens are willing to pay for government-sponsored wireless access.
Free networks funded solely by ads have been considered by some municipalities, but it remains unclear if this idea is economically sustainable over the long term.
However, the benefits of these networks could surpass the concerns officials and resident have, particularly if the networks improve government communications during disasters or access to criminal records, building plans, and video surveillance for firefighters and police officers.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from Time (01/15/07); Vol. 169, No. 3, P. 52; Dell, Kristina.