Philadelphia announced details of its 10-year deal with EarthLink for the construction of a WiFi network that will cover the city. The deal includes provisions for EarthLink to pay for computers and training and subsidize Web access for low-income households. EarthLink is building a 135-sq.-mi. network that is expected to be finished next spring. The ISP will rent space on 4,000 city light posts, paying the city $74 annually per light post. Estimates are that EarthLink will shell out between $20 million and $22 million to build and operate the network. The ISP is going to charge a wholesale rate of less than $12 per month to other Internet service providers with a goal of keeping retail rates under $20 per month.
It will be an interesting battle, with DSL and cable providers having ample time to bolster their coverage and drop high-speed Internet packages. Verizon already offers DSL broadband for around $15 per month. Hopefully, EarthLink can sustain its business model because it looks like the competition will be very good for consumers.
For more about EarthLink's contract with Philadelphia:
- read this article from AP