Philadelphia, one of EarthLink's showcase cities for muni-WiFi, is preparing for the possibility EarthLink may sell or abandon the city's network. Terry Phillis, the city's chief information officer, told ComputerWorld that he believed there was a 75 percent chance EarthLink could bail out of Philadelphia. The city expects an answer within 60 days but is already preparing for that reality.
Back in August, EarthLink announced it would eliminate 900 workers by the end of 2007. "That statement said to me that WiFi is no longer in their strategic initiatives, and they wouldn't make that statement if they were continuing here," Phillis said.
Philadelphia would prefer the network be sold to another private provider over running its own network, but definitely sees the WiFi network as an asset to the city. The city has begun trials to see if it is compatible for use with city inspections and emergency services.
For more about Philadelphia's WiFi fears:
- read this article from ComputerWorld