Microsoft, MetroFi partner to build wireless network in Portland, Oregon

In a partnership that could rival the EarthLink-Google combination that won the San Francisco muni WiFi bid, Microsoft and MetroFi say they will join together to build a free network in Portland, Oregon.

According to MetroFi, the service will launch from the Pioneer Courthouse Square in the downtown area by the end of December and service will be phased in throughout the city over the next years.

For Microsoft's part, they will be providing targeted MSN content to network users and advertising through its adCenter system.

Basic access to the network will be free, and enhanced service (without ads) will be available for about $20 a month.

Will this partnership extend to other cities thinking about going wireless? Time will tell...

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