Mayor Street, signed a project that will make Philadelphia the nation’s largest WiFi hotspot with supposedly no cost to the taxpayer. If I’m not mistaken, Temple’s Fox School of Business and the eBusiness Institute worked with the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Information Services (MOIS) to assist the city with the wireless Philadelphia initiative.
According to the press release from from the Philadelphia Government site:
Mayor John F. Street announced today that four agreements have been signed allowing EarthLink and Wireless Philadelphia to bring wireless Internet service to every City neighborhood. When fully implemented, the initiative will turn Philadelphia into the nation’s largest WiFi hotspot and help to improve education, bridge the digital divide, enhance neighborhood development, and reduce the costs of government.
“When I first announced the plan to bring wireless Internet to every neighborhood, I said we would do so because we must prepare our citizens and businesses to face the challenges of the 21 st Century,” Mayor Street said. “Just as roads and transportation were keys to our past, wireless technology and digital infrastructure are keys to our future. With these agreements signed today, our original vision will be realized and every Philadelphian will benefit. This is a tremendous step forward for our City and our citizens.”
“EarthLink is excited to work with the City and Wireless Philadelphia to begin building the largest municipal wireless broadband network in the United States,” said Donald Berryman, executive vice president of EarthLink and president of its’ municipal networks unit. “This partnership is an important step in shrinking the digital divide and bringing low-cost, high-speed Internet service to the visitors, businesses and residents of Philadelphia.”
Under the agreements, EarthLink will build, manage and maintain a wireless network over the City’s 135 square miles at no cost to taxpayers. EarthLink will install transmittal devices on approximately 4,000 of the City’s street lamp pole arms for which it will pay the City. In addition, EarthLink will provide City residents and visitors with free hotspots in 22 locations around Philadelphia, and provide the City with 3,000 free or discounted WiFi accounts and 700 discounted T-1 accounts to be used at the City’s option.
The Wireless Philadelphia Initiative [PDF Document]