Friday, May 29, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: EarthLink To Dump Wireless Philadelphia Next Month

EarthLink, the Internet service provider that hooked up the city through Wireless Philadelphia, announced this morning that it wants to start dismantling the system on June 12.

BREAKING NEWS: EarthLink To Dump Wireless Philadelphia Next Month

EarthLink, the Internet service provider that hooked up the city through Wireless Philadelphia, announced this morning that it wants to start dismantling the system on June 12.  The Atlanta-based company has been looking to get out of the municipal wireless business here and in other cities since November. But Philadelphia has a 10-year contract with EarthLink, signed in February 2006, that calls for the company to pay the city $1 million in 10 days as part of a long-term payment plan.

So EarthLink today went to federal court, asking a judge for permission to pull down its equipment after June 12.  You've probably seen the stuff, which EarthLink says has a value of $17 million.  It's those little silver boxes with two antennae strapped to streetlights across the city.  They broadcast Internet signals to computers with wireless access. EarthLink also asked the federal judge today to limit its financial liability for Philadelphia Wireless to $1 million.

Mayor Nutter today vowed to protect the city's interest under the contact and said he does not intend to spend city money to keep the system up and running.  Nutter added that EarthLink had been negotiating with Cleveland-based OneCommunity to take over Wireless Philadelphia but that several potential deals had fallen apart in the last week.  OneCommunity, a non-profit, has $25 million in funding for the next five years from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help provide Internet access to 26 cities, including Philadelphia.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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