Tim Wu explains why municipal wifi projects are flopping all over the place. In essence, the idea it's never really been tried. Or, rather, the cities doing muni wifi haven't done what they ought to try to do and make wireless broadband internet a freely available public service. Instead, not wanting to invest any money in their wifi network, they tried to contract with private firms who would build networks that the companies would then charge people for.

This hasn't worked very well, and it's also contrary to the whole underlying purpose of the enterprise which was to make wireless broadband internet access into a freely available public service.

I'm not 100 percent sure the public service model would be a great idea, or under what circumstances it'd be a great idea, but we have all sorts of different towns and cities here in the United States and it sure would be nice to see someplace try this out in a real way.

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