EarthLink pulls the plug on Wi-Fi in US city

EarthLink is pulling the plug on its troubled wireless high-speed internet network in Philadelphia, once touted as a model for other cities in the US.

An Associated Press report said EarthLink, which pinned its future on municipal Wi-Fi networks following rapid declines in its dial-up internet access business, said that it could not find a buyer for the €11 million (US$17 million) network.

It also said talks to give the network to the city or a nonprofit organization had failed, even after offering to pay €650,000 (US$1 million ) in cash and donate the Wi-Fi equipment.

City officials have said it would cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year to operate the network, which will shut down after June 12, the Associated Press report said.

Also earlier, the company sued the city in US District Court seeking to remove its Wi-Fi equipment from streetlights and cap its liability at €650,000.

'It's been an unfortunate situation,' Earthlink CEO Rolla Huff told The Associated Press. 'It was a great idea a few years ago, "&brkbar; but it's an idea that simply didn't make it.'

Huff said EarthLink will stay focused on serving people using dial-up internet service and casual internet surfers who want an economical plan.

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