Friday, May 25, 2007

Philadelphia Wireless Gets OK

In a media alert released yesterday by Wireless Philadelphia, it was announced that Earthlink has gained approval to build out a 15 square mile test WiFi network to cover the entire city - approximately 135 square miles. Here's detail from the media alert announcing and detailing a press conference:

"Mayor Street will announce that Wireless Philadelphia has formally accepted EarthLink's Proof of Concept Area, a fifteen square-mile test zone in North Philadelphia. In turn, EarthLink will proceed with the buildout of the citywide wireless network, with completion expected by the end of 2007. Mayor Street will also participate in a wireless online videoconference with a student from YouthBuild in another location within the POC". "Wireless Philadelphia CEO Greg Goldman will provide an update on Digital Inclusion, the initiative to help those who are not online get connected with affordable hardware, software, technical support and training, and wireless, high-speed Internet access".

The Philadelphia wireless project was one of the first announced in the United States and, because tax payers money was being used to compete against private carriers, led to the creation of a Pennsylvania law that now requires municipal organizations to get approval from local telecommunications companies before the build-out of any WiFi network.

According to Yahoo! News as reported by Nancy Gohring and Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service:

"For six months, customers of a 1M bps (bits per second service) will pay an introductory rate of US$6.95 per month, which bumps up to $19.95 thereafter. A faster 3M bps service is available for $9.95 for the first six months and $21.95 after that".

"City parks will have free access, and low-income residents can sign up for service at $9.95 per month, before promotions. Customers can also pay for service on an hourly, daily or three-day basis".

A number of other cities are attempting to negotiate similar agreements including San Francisco.

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