decide to expand public use in the future, she added, but for now the network will be devoted to the city government.

Brownsville residents will, however, have Internet access at about 20 Wi-Fi hotspots around the city.

Like any city, though, Brownsville is limited in how often it can refresh or significantly upgrade its IT infrastructure, making the technology's life expectancy that much more important. "What's cutting edge today, in less than two years is antiquated," Brand said. "You've got to be careful what you do, and what systems you adopt."

While WiMAX's long-term promise wasn't Brownsville's biggest concern, preparing for future data requirements is important when planning any major infrastructure. "We're planning for the future, realizing that as new things are developed, they're going to be bandwidth hogs," Bruciak said. "It's not going to go in the other direction."


Contributing writer Patrick Michels lives in Austin, Texas.

Patrick Michels  |  Contributing Writer
Patrick Michels is based in San Francisco and Austin, Texas. He writes for Government Technology, Texas Technology and Emergency Management magazines.