Granbury, Texas unwired

Granbury, Texas (pop. 6,000) is deploying a Wi-Fi network that covers 26 square kilometers. The city will use the network for public safety (police, fire and emergency services), building inspection, meter reading and public access. To my knowledge, Granbury will be the first community to launch a mixed use citywide Wi-Fi network.Granbury, Texas (pop. 6,000) is deploying a Wi-Fi network that covers 26 square kilometers. The city will use the network for public safety (police, fire and emergency services), building inspection, meter reading and public access. To my knowledge, Granbury will be the first community to launch a mixed use citywide Wi-Fi network.

Details

The city did not put out a tender to build the network. They have an ongoing partnership with a local ISP, Frontier Broadband, for WLAN infrastructure management. The citywide Wi-Fi project is an extension/evolution of their partnership. The city’s contract with Frontier addresses quality of service (QOS), number of years, minimum bandwidth, etc. Note that Frontier Broadband is not the only broadband access provider in Granbury; there are three to four ISPs in town that offer dialup, dialup and wireless, or just wireless. This does not include Charter Cable or SBC DSL.

The deployment calls for the installation of enough radios that in most cases no additional equipment, other than some type of 802.11b device will be required on customer premises. However, where customers cannot receive an adequate signal, the CPE for the external antenna will cost no more than $40.

The network will use 80 Tropos mesh nodes, plus Orthogon for backhaul and Motorola Canopy, which they are integrating into the Tropos mesh network. The city owns the network but Frontier, the ISP, owns the hardware (i.e the mesh nodes). The city gives Frontier permission to use city property to mount mesh nodes and antennas; it also allows Frontier to use city employees to install them. If Frontier and the city terminate their arrangement, Frontier has to remove their hardware from city property.

For public access (residential and business subscriptions), Frontier has not yet finalized pricing. They are considering $20 per month for 384 Kbps (which is very slow), with higher speeds being tiered up to $30. The goal is to make this as competitive as possible with dialup. I will update this report when Frontier has come up with definitive pricing.

Costs of the network

– Tropos equipment: $120,000 for 40 radios (to be installed immediately) and another $120,000 for 40 radios to be installed in 30 days; Frontier is paying for the equipment
Pronto Networks gateway and software: still being negotiated
– cost of deployment (services): $10,000
– annual maintenance cost: $3,000 to the city which includes Internet access, POP mail accounts, etc.

Return on investment

The greatest return on investment will be in the police department, which the city estimates to be $80,000 in the first year. This amount is based on 3 FTE * 1.5 hours * $20/hr * 3 shifts * 356 days. This does not take into account the intangible of having the officer on the street an additional 1.5 hours per shift per day.

Comments

  1. Some ROI numbers out of Texas

    Muniwireless: Granbury, Texas unwired Archives Granbury Texas is going wireless for their citizens AND their municipality services. Interesting quick ROI…

  2. This press release came out on 26 October 2005:

    The city of Granbury went wireless following action by the City Council. Council members approved a $305,000 service contract with Frontier Broadband to access its mobile mesh network. This is the first U.S. city to use mobile mesh Wi-Fi for both government services and public access.

    The city will use the network for public safety ( police, fire and emergency services ), building inspection, meter reading and public access. A significant example of the return on investment will be in the police department. The police department returned $80,000 to the City and identified the reduced costs of overtime to the Wi-Fi network. This amount is based on 3 FTE * 1.5 hours * $20/hr * 3 shifts * 356 days. This does not take into account the intangible of having the officer on the street an additional 1.5 hours per shift per day. The Metro Mesh network will read the city’s automated water, electric and gas meters ( AMR’s ), eliminating the high costs to roll out trucks and drivers. In towns and cities, these savings represent thousands of dollars a month without reducing community services. Frontier Broadband has provided similar proposals to several other Texas cities.

    Granbury is the first community to launch a mixed use citywide Wi-Fi network. Frontier Broadband provides specialized municipal Wi-Fi networks that provide a secure Public Safety network as well as a Public Access service. For municipalities that only have dial up or limited DSL services, the mobile mesh Wi-Fi network provides a great solution for the city and its residents. Not only does it provide high speed Internet access up to 1Meg – it is very cheap – average costs are $19.95 a month.

    Frontier Broadband is able to install a mobile mesh network in town or city within 45 days of signing a contract. Frontier Broadband will provide private mobile mesh Wi-Fi systems at Universities ( including student dorms or apartments ), private institutions, large corporations, camping/RV grounds, sporting complexes and other areas that require high speed Internet broadband access without the wire.