EarthLink, the ISP that campaigned to own the municipal WiFi market and later withdrew from it in the span of a single year, is shutting down its once-controversial, much-hyped municipal Wi-Fi network in Philadelphia. In what could be a sad end to the story for the city, EarthLink is looking to remove all of its gear from local facilities after it darkens the network.
EarthLink and Philadelphia had been negotiating for the city to take over the network in some fashion, but apparently had not been able to reach an agreement. Meanwhile, the municipal WiFi business has been bouncing back a bit in other cities where outside network operators have are working with more sensible business models that include local government anchor tenants and tiered-pricing options. Those operators includes telcos. Municipal WiFi consultant and author Craig Settles has said that cable TV companies could make an impact, too. With Cablevision announcing its own WiFi rollout this week, that trend may be off and running.
Still, no network operators have swooped into Philadelphia to play the hero, at least not yet.
- check out this coverage at PC World