EarthLink to sell muni-WiFi in retail stores

EarthLink said it plans to sell muni-WiFi service through retail outlets. The company hasn't disclosed which retailers will carry the service. EarthLink's service is currently operating in five cities--Anaheim, Calif.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Milpitas, Calif.; New Orleans; and Philadelphia. EarthLink currently offers EarthLink WiFi through its website at $6.95 a month for the first six months and $19.95 after that.

The move comes after EarthLink revealed earlier this year that it is pulling back on its muni-WiFi business to focus on its existing contracts and larger cities for the rest of the year. This announcement came following the revelation that EarthLink lost $30 million during the first quarter, or 24 cents per share, as more subscribers exited from its core traditional dial-up business. For the rest of the year, EarthLink plans to focus on driving up usage in large cities rather than launching new projects. The company plans to cut in half its capital expenditures on municipal WiFi.

EarthLink's plan is to make money through paid services such as monthly subscriptions and "anchor tenant" deals with city governments. But so far EarthLink has about 2,000 monthly consumer subscribers to its muni-WiFi services, which executives estimate cost an average of $40 per household to deploy.

For more about EarthLink's plans to sell WiFi at retail stores:
- check out this article from Twice Magazine