The Minneapolis RFP:
In 2006 the City of Minneapolis completed its RFP process and signed a 10-year contract with USI Wireless of Minnetonka to provide Minneapolis with cutting-edge broadband technology. USI Wireless is a private company that will own, build and manage the wireless network, making Minneapolis one of the first large cities in the United States to go wireless.
When completed, the wireless network will cover all 59 square miles of Minneapolis providing residents, businesses and visitors with wireless broadband access anywhere in the City. The network will allow the City to deliver services more efficiently and effectively than ever before. The wireless contract also includes benefits to the community that go far beyond what any other city in the country has negotiated.
USI Wireless is completing construction in six geographic phases (based on technology considerations, including the amount of fiber optic cable already installed in a particular area, the number of technical design challenges such as tall buildings, lakes, significant tree coverage, etc), and has a schedule to complete the entire wireless network by the end of 2007.
Community Benefits Agreement
As part of the Wireless Minneapolis contract, US Internet is providing a comprehensive set of community benefits that goes far beyond what any other city in the country has negotiated.
The groundbreaking set of community benefits in the Minneapolis contract leverages the success of the network to help bridge the digital divide. Highlights include:
- USI Wireless will provide $500,000 to create a “digital inclusion fund” that will be used to promote affordable Internet access, low-cost hardware, local content and training. In addition, US Internet will direct a minimum of five percent of the network’s net profits to a digital inclusion fund for ongoing digital inclusion efforts. In total, it is expected that about $11 million will go into the digital inclusion fund over the 10-year term of the contract.
- Free limited-time service will be available in some public locations, such as parks and plazas in Minneapolis.
- A free “walled garden” level of wireless service will be available to people throughout the city for important neighborhood, government, and community services information.
- Designated community technology centers will receive free wireless access.
Digital Watershed's World Class Initiative will utilize the Wireless Minneapolis network and establish its first pilot study within this muniwireless network. Along with partners, including the Whittier Park School and the Science Museum of Minnesota, our intent is to give Minneapolis another "first" in establishing wireless learning through place-based curricula.