Municipal Wireless Broadband (Wi-Fi Networks) are projects worldwide that are funded or supported by cities and towns.
These range from downtown hotzones to city- and county-wide wireless broadband networks. The REASON of providing Muni based broadband projects is to provide: affordable, fast, universal access to the Internet - WHEN private sector competition isn't getting "the job done" for whatever reason - usually phone companies don't find it profitable providing broadband service is sparsely populated rural areas, for instance.
They can be completely owned & operated by the community - such as a public water utility. As opposed to a completely private sector broadband deployment - like your local phone company's DSL service offered on their private network of copper lines.
Or, they can be owned in tandem or operations be subcontracted to a private entity, many times the local Wireless ISP. This is a similar arrangement as to how communities license out service rights to the Cable TV/Internet companies around the company (the business structure - NOT the operational part).
There are also Fiber Optical based "Muni Broadband Projects," of which UTOPIA in the state of Utah is a prime example. But it is many time more expensive to run Fiber Optics to each & every premise (FTTP Fiber to the Premise), so often times these community-based projects are a hibrid network of Fiber Optics that "ring" around the city, with wireless "access points" placed strategically throughout the area on top of towers, buildings & telephonepoles, and blankets the enter region with RF (radio frequency) signal. This is known as a "Metrowide Hotzone." This in comparison to the popular Wi-Fi Hotspots, which typically provides wireless connectivity with a maximum range of 300 feet.
Effectively, it allows people to "seamlessly roam" throughout their community while still being able to be connected to the Internet. As the Webmaster & Tech Support for one of the original Wireless ISPs (WISPs) in 1997, we were able to travel in a car throughout ur coverage area & remained conneted wirelessly with T1 speeds, while going 70 miles per hour (it probably would have also worked faster than the legal local speed limit).
AND here's where an ENTIRELY new & exciting realm of advertsing possibilities open up... and which I'm sure Google is contemplateing. Imaging taking a "roadtrip" vacation, and you are miles from home in an unfamiliar town and are hungry, all you have to do (in the not too distant future) is say something like this: "Computer, what's are some ideas for lunch today?"
Then the computer would log on wirelessly to the local Wi-Fi Network (it probably was always connected in "the background") and search for all the local restaurants that advertise their lunch menus on the Net (or Google AdSense), and start listing the various lunch options available - whether visiually on monitor screen OR audibly via v text to voice software, OR since it is a MOBILE, WIRELESS CONNECTION... perhaps provide short VIDEO commercials for each restaurant... AND once you make a decision, you could place your order in advance from your car still on the road, via VIDEOPHONE with the restaurant;s service personnel, who will start working on the meal and cut down on the time you have to wait for your meal to be served. This will allow travellers to get back on the road quickly, thus cutting down on travel time to their destinations.
Future applications potential is beyond comprehension... and so is commercial opportunity!