Philly’s Wireless Internet Buyout

i-m-in-ur-internet-cloging-ur-tubesRemember 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]

4 Responses to “ Philly’s Wireless Internet Buyout ”

  1. Siobhan says:

    I got the wireless internet way back in 2007 when I first moved to the city, and I can tell you exactly why they couldn’t keep enough customers to support their business model: The shit simply didn’t work. The transponders the company installed didn’t emit a strong enough signal to penetrate the buildings jammed onto every street, so service was spotty and meager (and that’s if you could get it to work at all). In the end, I was out a whole lot of money for a product that simply didn’t deliver.

  2. Tom says:

    Cool, now they can sit in their cars with the air on and surf the web for a few hours before and after lunch

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