Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Free WiFi fini in Philly

The company that created Philadelphia's citywide WiFi network announced last week that it will begin to dismantle it starting June 12. This comes after the company, Earthlink, declared last fall that they would no longer be in the municipal wireless network business, as it wasn't fiscally feasible. (Last month Earthlink pulled out from a partnership with the City of New Orleans after failing to find a buyer for the network.)

The City of Philadelphia and Earthlink attempted to turn over the network to a non-profit, but those efforts haven't panned out. On the assumption they won't, Earthlink has asked a federal court to rule that next month it can retake possession of its network equipment, which currently provides WiFi coverage over 75% of Philadelphia.

All in all, providing free municipal WiFi coverage seems to be a bad business model, as Milwaukee Talkie noted previously. There haven't been many rumblings about citywide WiFi in Milwaukee lately, since our own partnership with Midwest Fiber Networks fell apart last summer, . . . is this idea finished here, as well?

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