governments in the county.

The 2004 start meant the county didn't have a lot of existing business models to study. Municipal wireless wasn't in vogue back then.

"It was tough because we didn't have a road map to follow," he recalled, though officials made some quick decisions after looking at available information. "We didn't want to own or operate the network, and we didn't want to pay for it."

Oakland County concluded that providing access to county infrastructure, such as streetlights, water towers, siren poles and traffic lights -- at no charge and with no permitting or licensing fees -- was the fastest way to make Wireless Oakland happen. In addition, any company that took the county up on its offer got to keep all revenues from selling higher-bandwidth services or advertising.

"Some folks were a little concerned about that," he recalled. "My response to that is that the taxpayers of Oakland County have been investing in public infrastructure for years and years through their tax dollars. Now, let's get a return on that investment for them."

Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor