The idea of municipal Wi-Fi service in the United States has been always been a hype magnet as local politicians could claim altruism while tapping a new revenue source and the technical crowd could follow a vision of ubiquitous Wi-Fi, while making money on the deal. The jury is still out on whether municipal Wi-Fi will ever amount to more than a passing fad, but Microsoft got involved yesterday when they revealed an alliance with mobile advertising provider JiWire to offer ads on municipal Wi-Fi networks:
The companies are testing the new advertising service in Portland, Ore., and Oakland County, Mich.
The companies haven’t talked about the details of the deal, but they have said they will share revenue from advertising.
But JiWire CEO Kevin McKenzie said that JiWire’s approach is different from Google’s approach. While Google provides text listings, JiWire will offer a 30-second commercial before people can access the network. The company will also sell banner advertisements.
Presumably Microsoft’s part of the alliance is rounding up the advertisers, but this is obviously a minor insurance bet in case muni Wi-Fi actually takes off.