A while back I talked about my disdain for Metro-Fi and the city’s free wi-fi network that’s been going up. I asked if I was the only one who consistently and persistenty failed to get access to the network. I found I wasn’t alone.

Portland’s Personal Telco Project, which has been consistently and persistently encouraging private citizens to contribute bandwidth and connectivity for a while now, recently released their findings in an independent test of Phase I of the Metro-Fi network.

The findings? “Of 39 random spots placed within 500 feet of access nodes, they were able to connect 20 times, and failed 19 times. When they tested between the 500- and 1,000-foot zone, they were only able to connect 12 times, failing 27 times. Overall, that’s a failure rate of about 60 percent. Not so hot.”

Of course, we are still in the “proof of concept” phase. If the concept was supposed to be proved by now, well, Mission Accomplished (in the purely George Bush/Iraq War sense of the term).

Since the meeting where they debuted their preliminary findings, a more formal report is in production and will be released here.

Until then, I’m happy to report that even though I live within about 100 feet of one of the Metro-Fi nodes (it’s on the phone pole on the other side of my neighbor’s house, a one-story which shouldn’t really block my access), I still can’t connect at home. And while downtown, I’ve only been able to get on about 4 or 5 times out of the 50+ attempts I’ve made, despite visible nodes nearby.

Anyone else as incredulous as I am about this latest municipal boondoggle?

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