Is this a further indication that EarthLink could bow out of the muni-WiFi business altogether? The ISP was a no-show at a hearing in Philadelphia that was called to discuss the company's recent revelation that it wouldn't make any more significant investments in muni-WiFi projects. In November, EarthLink CEO Rolla Huff said the company "decided that making significant further investments in this business could be inconsistent with our objective of maximizing shareholder value." In August, the company cut 900 jobs.
EarthLink did issue a statement to the city's Committee on Technology and Information Services, which indicated that the ISP has spent more than $20 million on the WiFi project, which is significantly more than the $12 million to $15 million it had expected to spend.
"While we are sensitive to the city's concern about the future of the project," the statement said, "we are not able to provide complete answers because of confidentiality agreements with other providers that may have an interest in this network and our status as a publicly traded company."
The network is largely complete, the company said, but neither EarthLink nor city officials could provide a date for when the system would be finished.
For more about EarthLink's situation in Philadelphia:
- read this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer