Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there was a dream shared by many Oklahomans. In that dream, no matter where you were standing in Oklahoma City, you could pull out your laptop computer, log on to free citywide wireless Internet and search the Web to your heart's delight. The landscape of that dream was peppered with wireless Internet transmitting towers as far as the eye could see and on every power pole, a router was attached, beaming its free connectivity straight to the antenna of your iPhone, laptop or PDA. Well, for a while, that dream seemed attainable but the logistics didn't pan out as hoped. "Not that we've completely turned our back on the concept,” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said. "But the idea that it was proceeding with any sort of quick pace has just disappeared from the landscape. Cities all over the country are trying to figure out if they should be involved at all or not.” But the good news is that Oklahoma City has the largest emergency wireless Internet system in the world. "We're the acknowledged leader in what's called metromesh wi-fi,” Cornett said. "It's the most cost effective way to get data to public safety officials that we've ascertained and we have a lot of people that are envious of what we've put together.” Earthlink, an Internet provider that had been on board along with city governments to bring free wi-fi to the masses backed out last year. "Earthlink acted like it really wanted to be a player and really wanted to do it and so cities were just signing up,” Cornett said. "But that concept of free wi-fi has just gone away.” "In terms of it being accessible by the public, it's just not practical anymore,” said Roy Williams, chief executive of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Since so many businesses have implemented wireless technology, he said, nearly every place with an actual demand for wireless Internet now has it. "People don't walk down the street with their laptop. They sit down somewhere. They're either at the convention center, a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop,” he said. Cornett said cities are reluctant to put money into an evolving industry. "We're good at putting capital money into something we think is going to be there for a long time, like the Ford Center or a convention center or streets. But when you start getting into this type of technology, cities are reluctant to put something in there that may be out of date in two years. That's probably why the private sector is reluctant too,” he said. While smaller cities, like Ponca City, are planning wireless grids for public use, both Cornett and Williams agree that the conversation of free public wireless Internet in Oklahoma City is one that has most likely been put on a back burner.