Gets new lease on life
Last modified on Wednesday, 18 June 2008 06:49
In 2006 EarthLink bid and won a $17 million Wi-Fi network deployment in Philadelphia that was to be the largest citywide Wi-Fi deployment in the U.S. EarthLink had begun building the Wi-Fi network, and as of this month the network was nearly eighty percent completed.
However, EarthLink’s CEO, Gary Betty, died unexpectedly in 2007 and left the company adrift in completing the Wi-Fi networks it was building across the U.S. Several other U.S. cities have already announced that they were assuming the remainder of EarthLink’s obligations to complete Wi-Fi in their cities.
However, EarthLink was unable to find a buyer or anyone to assume its obligations for completing and running the Philadelphia Wi-Fi network and on June 10th announced that it was abandoning the network. EarthLink had filed in U.S. District Court to begin removal of Wi-Fi radios from City street lights in an effort to cap its liability at $1 million.
Local investors rescued the Wi-Fi project at the last minute. Mark Rupp, a former Verizon executive, has put together a group of investors to complete and improve the EarthLink Wi-Fi network. They claim that no additional public funds will be needed and that they will create an ad-supported service that will charge businesses for participating in the Wi-Fi network, while offering the service free to City residents.