June 29, 2005

Houston Muni Wi-Fi: It's in the Parking Meters

According to a story in the Houston Chronicle, Houston is getting ready to deploy parking meters that communicate with Wi-Fi to allow payment by credit card. The meters have been under trial. The city is ready to end the trial and select a vendor.

The next question is, once the network is in place, can it be opened up to other uses, such as public access?

Richard Lewis, Houston's chief technology officer, says new parking meters—being tested on the streets around the county's courthouses downtown—will take credit cards and use a standard WiFi network connection to verify credit card information.

The city is about to end the test and select one of the participating parking meter vendors.

Lewis said once that's done, the city will evaluate whether it's feasible to open that WiFi network to the public.

He said his department will soon go to the city council to get approval for the project, which should be completed 60 to 90 days later.

If the city decides to open up the parking-meter network, by fall, downtown could be a big WiFi hot spot.

Posted by chip at June 29, 2005 02:28 AM

This opens up at least three opportunities that we could all be excited about:
* Wifi Mesh Network
* Parking fees funding Wifi expansion in municipal areas (anyplace the city wants to charge to park, you can also get some wifi)
* Parking meter firmware crashes

Posted by: donturn at June 30, 2005 05:54 PM