Friday, May 18, 2007

Solar Wifi Comes to St. Louis Park, Could Turn Ugly

The residents of St. Louis Park, Minnesota may be the first in the US (Green Wifi has been at this a while in the developing world) to receive solar-powered, wireless Internet service. The service, run by the city, will require about 400 poles with solar panels attached to operate the Wifi network. Of course, some folks are worried that these poles will have an ugly side effect: they might be placed in their lawn, or in line their with picture window. The city is working with residents to minimize these effects. The low tech solution - painting the silver poles brown - has already been approved. You know, to look like wood (hint, hint.)

The service is expected to start next fall; customers would pay monthly fees between $15 to $20 depending on the level of service. Will the project be an environmental success? Only if it is used; as Thoreau said, "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing to communicate." With the city having already incurred $1.7 million in expenses, and more to come, let's hope the residents of St. Louis Park have something to say. ::
Star Tribune

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