What's the size of the municipal wireless market? Esme Vos, who runs the great MuniWireless site, has released a study that project U.S. cities, towns and counties will spend nearly $700 million over the next three years. The market will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 134 percent between 2004 and 2007 and will exceed $400 million by 2007, writes. Vos is putting on this week's MuniWireless 2005 conference in San Francisco. Other findings:
- Growth is taking place with equal vigor in large and small municipalities alike. Growth will more than double annually for the next three years, both in cities with populations of more than 500,000 people, and those with less than 100,000 residents. More than 60% of total 2005 municipal wireless network spending is being done by large cities, a figure expected to hold fairly constant in the next two years, as more and more large cities issue Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for their wide-area wireless initiatives.
- The top application for current municipal wireless networks is public safety (police, fire, emergency services). Just over half of U.S. municipalities that have deployed municipal wireless have done so for public safety.
- Many municipalities are starting their “unwiring” efforts in an attempt to reduce skyrocketing telecommunications costs. But small municipalities often are driven to offer inexpensive broadband access to residents and businesses that are typically underserved by the large incumbent communications carriers.
- Since the majority of municipal wireless spending will focus on infrastructure build-out for the next several years, product vendors will be well-positioned to capitalize on demand for their products. However, that infrastructure is deployed, applications developers are going to be the most sought-after technology partners.
- Adoption of important industry standards, such as the next generation of Wi-Fi (802.11s) and WiMax, could spur even higher growth rates for the market, should those standards be widely adopted by technology vendors early next year.
- Still unclear is how dramatic will be the market impact of major technology players such as Microsoft, Cisco, Google and Intel.
Municipal Wireless White Papers
- Municipal Wireless - Just the Facts, Please! - Tropos Networks
- Municipal Wireless Networks Open New Access and Old Debates - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- WiFi Clouds and Zones: A Survey of Municipal Wireless Initiatives - University of Georgia
- NEC Solutions America and Public Safety Wireless Data - NEC Solutions (America)
- Qualcomm Case Study: City of Alliance Municipal Electric System - QUALCOMM
- Let GIS Help You - A Technology Driven Utility Department - Environmental Systems Research Institute
- The Development of the Slope Failure Management System - Environmental Systems Research Institute