Monday, May 12, 2008

EarthLink Abandons Philly Wi-Fi Network

EarthLink is terminating its Philadelphia Wi-Fi service and an negotiations to transfer the Wi-Fi network to the city government or a non-profit organization failed.

EarthLink has also filed today a proceeding in federal court seeking a declaration that EarthLink may remove its equipment from the City's street lights and that EarthLink's total potential liability may not exceed $1 million.

"EarthLink has worked diligently for many months to transfer our Wi-Fi network to a new owner -- at no cost," said Rolla Huff, EarthLink's chairman and chief executive officer. "Unfortunately, our hope that we could transfer our network to a non-profit organization that had planned to offer free Wi-Fi throughout Philadelphia will not be realized. Since we have exhausted our efforts to find a new owner of the network, our only responsible alternative now is to remove our network at our cost and assist our Wi-Fi customers with alternative ways to access the Internet."

  • In October 2005, The City of Philadelphia selected EarthLink to develop and implement what was to be the largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the U.S. No City or taxpayer dollars were to be used to fund the project. EarthLink agreed to finance, build and manage the wireless network, and provide Wireless Philadelphia with revenue sharing fees to help support the Wireless Philadelphia Non-Profit Corporation. EarthLink planned to implement a 135-square-mile, city-wide Wi-Fi mesh network, which was expected to be fully operational by the fourth quarter of 2006.