Why may municipal WiFi flop?
For one thing, if it’s billed as “free”, it won’t really be free. In the places where it’s being implemented, the browser required is dominated by ugly advertising.
People who go to coffee shops and other WiFi hotspots can get access without the banner AND get the friendly “third place” environment of the coffee shop or other venue.
Even if someone is paying to use citywide wireless broadband, they may still seek out comfortable surroundings like the coffee shop to use their wifi.
Based on my own experience with San Jose’s municipal WiFi system, I’d surely seek out a local coffee shop providing WiFi over the more accessible muni system due to the intrusive banner placed in the browser. Assuming it didn’t have intrusive ads, or was paid and I had already paid, I’d have to find somewhere as accommodating as a coffee shop to do some surfing. That may be easier said than done.