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Muni Wi-Fi player MetroFi warns users of shutdowns

Municipal Wi-Fi vendor MetroFi Inc. appears to be pulling out of the game. According to the company’s Web site, it is shutting down all but two of the ad-supported wireless networks it operates in a handful of cities in Oregon, California and Illinois.
Launched in 2002, MetroFi began building Wi-Fi networks near its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. By 2005 the company counted networks in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, Calif., and had launched a plan to build Wi-Fi networks for cities that were free to users and supported by advertising.
Now, however, it seems the company’s plans have come to a halt.
MetroFi plans to pull the cord on its free networks in Concord, Cupertino, Foster City, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area, Riverside in Southern California, Aurora and Naperville in Illinois, and Portland, Oregon.
The company had been hoping the cities or investors would buy the networks out, apparently but no one has stepped up to the plate so far.
According to the company’s Web site, only the networks in Riverside, Calif. and Aurora, Ill., remain operational.
The company was not immediately available for comment.
The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Muni Wi-Fi networks across the country – most notably those from EarthLink Inc. – have suffered shutdowns due to a lack of interest on the part of users.

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