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Wireless Networking Government Hardware News

Philadelphia's Wi-Fi Back Online, Privately 50

Posted by kdawson
from the asymptotically-approaching-the-correct-model dept.
muellerr1 writes "A group of local Philadelphia investors is picking up where Earthlink left off last week. Earthlink abandoned their effort to provide municipal Wi-Fi access because they couldn't lure enough paying customers. The project won't use any additional taxpayer dollars, and the new investors are thinking of using advertisements and fees for business use to support free access for ordinary citizens." The private group won't estimate when the network might be completed (it's at 80%), saying it will take months to assess where the project is and what it needs.
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Philadelphia's Wi-Fi Back Online, Privately

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  • by WaltBusterkeys (1156557) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @06:10PM (#23831239)
    I heartily applaud their attempt to get free coverage. But even if they fail there's still a lot of great stuff on the horizon. The coverage of commercial services like FON [fon.com] is increasing fast. At the same time, the new G3 phones are coming online (new iPhone, anyone?) and tethering is starting to look like a more and more attractive way to get high-speed Internet on the go. I'd love it if Internet were free everywhere, but I'll take iPhone tethering (yes, it's probably against the TOS) as a fallback.

    Kudos to them.
  • by Collective 0-0009 (1294662) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @06:45PM (#23831645)

    The private group won't estimate when the network might be completed (it's at 80%), saying it will take months to assess where the project is and what it need
    Half of that sentence isn't true. Either you need months to asses, or you know it's at 80%. Not both.
  • by ubuwalker31 (1009137) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @06:49PM (#23831699)
    ...not businesses. The whole idea of municipal Wi-fi is that everyone can have it, profit or no profit...tragedy of the commons and all....and since Earthlink abandoned their effort to provide municipal Wi-Fi access because they couldn't lure enough paying customers...it just goes to show that non-public corporations do a lousy job providing public services. The internet is akin to a utility, and should be regulated in the publics best interest, not some investors bottom line.
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @07:09PM (#23831959) Homepage Journal
    It shows that not enough people were interested in buying into another internet service being happy enough with their current service.

    My problem with municipal wi-fi is, where is the need? Most businesses and even people living there have service. So this benefits who? The poor and down trodden? Most could care less about internet and those who do and are going to the library and getting good access there in a clean and friendly environment. Why would they want to divert monies they could use for shelter and food towards a computer and other hardware needed for the net? The net isn't a priority, providing for family first is. I don't understand why so many people here see the net as opening doors. The problem is that for many of the people who you claim it will open a door for don't even know they need one and many probably don't.

    The internet is not a utility. The last thing I want is it to be under the control of our government, local, state, or federal. We are harp on verizon and such caving in or going to extremes we find unwarranted at every little hissy fit one state or another throws. Can you imagine how damn regulated and filtered your net will be if totally in the hands of the government and the cronies appointed by the powers that be? Think freedom of speech will protect you? It might for what you say but it will not gain you access to what you want. It will also be reduced by "for the children" laws. Combine that with actually trying to get someone to fix your service when its down and out. Its not a life threatening application its not going to be addresses fast. Hell the nearest city to me can't even keep the road patched. They have a leaky water system they haven't been able to fix in ten years. Like hell if I want to trust my internet connection to them.

    The internet should not be treated as a utility, its not a right, it is not essential to life.
  • by KenDiPietro (1294220) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:37PM (#23832991)
    Earthlink had offered to give a non-profit $1 Million in cash plus roughly $2 Million in brand new equipment. Most of the network had been built using first generation Tropos equipment, at the edge, which based on the time the first radios were installed puts them at more than 2/3rds through their usable life. While there is blame enough to go around for everybody involved, the reality is that Earthlink has now decided to focus on dialup, a plan that most of us here would look at as a long term solution - depending on what you define as long term and what solution you would like to see Earthlink come to. Good luck, Philadelphia, because trying to use the equipment you have is going to sink this network faster than it did last time.
  • by johnpaul191 (240105) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:18PM (#23833361) Homepage
    Good news for iPhone1.0 owners? Wi-Phi should be faster than AT&T's 3G..... and AT&T's EDGE coverage blows in Philly.

    Around town we all heard they would be using some form of ad-supported net access. I hopped on it (using an old 802.11b equipped iBook) to see if it really was free and open, and it was. I was not in a place with good coverage, but it was pretty usable. I know where the base stations are, and I was located *just* at the edge of where they stopped putting them up.
    I didn't see any ads, but i was using Safari with ad blocker installed. Not sure if that removed them or they just didn't put them in yet? Maybe the ads thing is a rumor. It also let me run iChat without a hitch.

    If there are details about the new system, i have not seem them yet. One report on the radio said the new company will be selling wired broadband to businesses and that will subsidize all or some of the network? This article says companies would have to pay for their employees to use the otherwise free Wi-Fi? Not sure what that's about, or how it will work out. People seemed to get very different info from the same press conference. 80% of the city is already covered in (802.11b) base stations. some neighborhoods will give you the ability to see half a dozen networks.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin

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