Philly chooses EarthLink for citywide WiFi

On the heels of Google's San Francisco bid, Philadelphia picked EarthLink as the finalist to build its citywide WiFi network. EarthLink beat out rival Hewlett-Packard for the gig. The company agreed to cover construction and maintenance costs for the venture, saving the city anywhere from $10 million to $15 million. The nonprofit managing the venture, Wireless Philadelphia, expects EarthLink to finish building the network by the end of next year. The organization then plans to piecemeal the finished network to other ISPs. City officials estimate the service will cost subscribers between $10 and $20 per month. Some attribute falling high-speed Internet subscription rates, like Verizon's $14.95 monthly DSL rate, to the imminent service.

EarthLink's move to absorb the $10 million to $15 million price tag is an obvious one given the hype surrounding the project. Philadelphia was the first major city to announce citywide WiFi plans. The project also spurred a state law intended to foil the city's plans but resulted in making it difficult for any other Pennsylvania municipality to follow suit. The law requires a municipality interested in providing subsidized WiFi services to first send a written request to the local telephone company, which must decline to offer the service itself.

For more on EarthLink's WiFi Philadelphia project:
- take a look at this article from the AP

PLUS: Google faces many obstacle in its bid for San Francisco's WiFi project. Article