March 23, 2006
 

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MuniWireless: U.S. Municipalities to Spend Nearly $700M on Wireless Networks in Next Three Years

First-of-its-Kind Research Report Predicts 134% CAGR as More Municipalities, Including Larger Cities like San Francisco and Portland, Embark on Wireless Initiatives. U.S. cities, towns and counties will spend nearly $700 million over the next three years to build municipal-owned wireless broadband networks, according to the first-ever statistical analysis of the municipal wireless market.
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The report, entitled "2005 Municipal Wireless State of the Market Report," is published by Muniwireless.com, the leading authority on the municipal wireless industry. According to the inaugural report, the U.S. market will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 134 percent between 2004 and 2007 and will exceed $400 million by 2007 as more municipalities, including larger cities like San Francisco and Portland, embark on wireless initiatives.

Esme Vos, founder of Muniwireless.com, and the leading voice on how municipalities are evaluating and deploying wireless networks, will detail the report's findings at MuniWireless 2005 San Francisco, the first conference to be produced by MuniWireless.com. More than 225 public officials, government IT leaders, systems integrators, consulting firms, investors, public policy experts and technology vendors are expected to attend the event at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Sept. 28-29. (For more information on the conference, go to www.mw05sf.com.)

"Since I began following this industry more than two years ago, everyone has struggled to get a handle on just how big this market really is, and what the market opportunity represents for companies building and deploying wireless networks for municipalities," said Vos. "Our study is the first to quantify the market's size and growth potential, and leaves little doubt: This is a market that has quickly gained critical mass, and is destined to grow at rapid rates for the foreseeable future -- even with the obvious questions surrounding the technical and political challenges," said Vos.

Among other key findings of the study:

-- 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.

The study is based upon in-depth, personal interviews with municipal IT executives, elected officials, and municipal department heads. Muniwireless.com received detailed statistical information about past, current and anticipated future spending for all-sized U.S. municipalities. The interviews were combined with U.S. census data to create a comprehensive "market map" representing the total available market for the years 2004 through 2007. The report was researched and written by Muniwireless.com founder Esme Vos in collaboration with Microcast Communications.

The report retails for $495, with discounts for representatives from municipalities. More information is available at www.muniwireless.com.
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