Philly’s Wireless Internet Buyout
Remember the Philadelphia wireless Internet plan? It’s here!
(But it’s only for government employees.)
The Daily News is reporting that the Council Committee on Public Property and Public Works has “approved plans to buy a wireless network that once promised to make Philadelphia one big public wireless hot spot, but will now mainly be used by the government.” So, what’s that mean for you? Very little.
M. Nutt’s got the city buying the wireless network for $2 million from Network Acquisition Co. LLC now that they’ve gone bankrupt, though the Philadelphia city government seems to be just another buyer in a long line of buying and selling and, as should be expected, incompetence.
Mayor John Street began advocating the plan in 2005 and insisted it would be run by the nonprofit group, Wireless Philadelphia. Internet service provider Earthlink installed the network that same year with Street saying he wanted to bridge the city’s “Digital divide.” For the next three years, the city proceeded to promote the crap out of the plan, mostly through door hangers, which were thrown away and ignored.
In 2008, Earthlink decided to cut its losses and backed out of the deal. It cited not enough customers signing up for the would-be city-wide service. Network Acquisition Co. bought the network from Earthlink in June 2008 with the intention of continuing with the plan for free Internet, but six months later, in December, the city announced it’d take back its series of tubes.
Chief Information Officer Allan Frank told the DN: “There is no model anywhere to give away free Internet…The fallacy in the old model was that, somehow, you could spend millions, put up Internet and it would somehow pay for itself…Access to the Internet, last time I checked, is not a constitutional right. Neither can a city afford to provide free Internet.”
Call it part of the fight against socialism or the city’s constant cave to Democratic “party bosses” who’re increasingly slipping into the Glenn Beck warzone of fighting net neutrality. Either way, all that free wireless would’ve been cool.
[Photo Courtesy of icanhascheezburger.com]