Microsoft and MetroFI are partnering in an initiative that will bring an ad-supported Wi-Fi network to almost all of Portland, Oregon by mid-2008.
Besides gaining ad revenue, Microsoft will also expose users of the free service to MSN-generated content, including weather, news stories and entertainment news, eCommerceTimes reports. Work on the system will start later this year, and Microsoft plans to have at least 95 percent of Portland covered in the network by mid-2008. Microsoft is leaving open the option to monetize the free service at a later date.
MetroFi will create the network, which will transmit data via access points mounted on streetlight poles throughout the city. Wi-Fi-enabled users will access the network at broadband-like speeds - up to 1 Mbps downstream bandwidth and as much as 256 Kbps upstream.
Advertising will be provided by Microsoft's adCenter platform, giving users Portland-centric information and allowing advertisers to reach local Wi-Fi users.