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Minneapolis considering citywide Wi-Fi

Notch up another major metropolis hopping on the municipal wireless bandwagon. This time it's Minneapolis, which is considering a $15 million to $20 million plan to build its own Wi-Fi network for cheaper broadband Internet access for the masses, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The city plans to issue a request for a proposal on Wednesday, according to the paper. Just like other municipal broadband projects in large cities such as Philadelphia and rural areas such as Kutztown, Pa. (which uses fiber-optic lines), Minneapolis hopes to use the network to link government offices, offer inexpensive Internet access and attract businesses. Consumers could pay $18 to $24 a month for speeds of between 1mbps and 3mbps.

Unlike Philadelphia, Minneapolis will contract out a private company to build and run the network. Wireless hubs could be mounted on light poles, on the tops of buildings and on traffic lights to blanket the entire city with broadband Internet.

Thanks to the comprehensive Muniwireless blog for giving us the heads-up.