Earthlink Chosen for Philly Wi-Fi Project

Philadelphia announced on Tuesday that it had selected Earthlink as the provider to build out the network that will offer the city's one million residents high-speed wireless Internet access.

The service would be free in public places such as parks, but in order for a resident to receive Wi-Fi in their homes, they will be charged $20 USD per month. A special $10 USD per month rate will be available for low-income families.

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Such a service could pose a threat to the already entrenched Internet providers in the city. For example, Comcast offers high-speed Internet to Philadelphians for $42.95 USD per month. Verizon offers DSL at $37.95 USD per month, however an option is available for $29.95 USD per month with a 12-month contract.

Earthlink won the contract over Hewlett-Packard, which also made a bid to build out the network.

A city spokesperson said that the ISP was chosen because of its offer of a revenue sharing model with Wireless Philadelphia, a non-profit interest group working to promote broadband in the city.

Earthlink would pay for construction and maintenance, and a contract would be signed with two months. The service is expected to launch next year.

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