Philly Wi-Fi Network Goes Live

After being selected to power Philadelphia's metropolitan Wi-Fi network some 15 months ago, EarthLink on Thursday made the first steps towards offering service by announcing it would allow for free access in the 15-square mile proof of concept area through January 21.

The area extends from the Schuylkill River to the west to the Delaware River to the east, and Center City and Old City to the south and Montgomery Avenue and the Kensington areas to the north. Speeds of up to 1 Mbps would be available.

Wireless-enabled laptops and desktops in the proof of concept area should be able to detect and connect to the wireless network "FeatherByEarthLink." Some customers could be eligible for a Wi-Fi modem, which would increase signal strength.

After the free period, "free access zones" would still exist in several areas, including Norris Square, Olney, Love Park and the Historic District. Those wishing to access the network outside of those areas will have to sign up for an account which runs $21.95 USD per month, the company said.

EarthLink is not the only option in town. Services would be available through People PC and Pennsylvania Online, as well through reseller agreements with the ISP.

"Our goal is clear: build a state-of-the-art wireless network across Philadelphia's 135 square miles," EarthLink's municipal networks head Donald Berryman said. "A key to doing this is gathering valuable feedback and insights from users of the network as construction continues."

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