EarthLink hooks Atlanta up to citywide Wi-Fi

(Cnet) EarthLink announced Thursday that it’s negotiating a contract with the city of Atlanta to build, own and operate a municipal Wi-Fi network throughout the city. “Atlanta has been EarthLink’s home for many years,” Donald Berryman, executive vice president of EarthLink and president of the ISP’s municipal networks unit, said in a statement. “And we are excited about the opportunity to showcase this exciting new technology in our own backyard, and ultimately, change the way people access the Internet.”

Mystech: Oh don’t you go teasing me now, EarthLink. This just MIGHT redeem you for the Mindspring fiasco.

EarthLink has won deals to build networks in a total of seven cities. Philadelphia, New Orleans, Milpitas, Calif., and Anaheim, Calif., are either entirely up and running or have portions of the city network working. EarthLink is currently deploying networks in Alexandria, Va., and Pasadena, Calif. It is close to starting work on its network in San Francisco. Earlier this month, the city approved the contract and now the agreement must be approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

As with EarthLink’s other deployments, the Atlanta network will offer residents symmetrical broadband speeds of 1 megabit per second for $18 a month. EarthLink will also work with the city to provide discounted rates for poor residents.

EarthLink will also provide open access to other competing service providers. IP telephony provider Vonage has already signed on to resell EarthLink’s broadband service along with its own telephony services in cities where EarthLink is building its network.

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6 Responses

  1. syn74x says:

    Interestingly enough, PA (harrisburg), Pasadena, and San Diego all house Earthlink/Mindspring offices.

    It’s definitely an interesting concept, albeit not a new one.

  2. Mystech says:

    And 1 mps is respectable at this time (I get substantially less when I use the Blackberry as a laptop modem). Of course, Google is doing this for “free” in San Francisco, albeit at an estimated 300 kbs.

  3. Lemon says:

    I read this to P, and he made the “rock on” sign. That would be really nifty!

  4. Mystech says:

    I’d just like to give a shout out to Tesla… The fools thought you were mad, mad indeed! Next step, 6-8 hertz global power transmission!

  5. Dave says:

    I was one of the original Mindspring customers, back when you actually could see who the staff was on their site, and e-mail the founder. Over the years, Earthlink dropped the original promise of the internet and became all about the money. I remember a conversation with some “chick” whose response to my observation that I would never take a job there because of the lower salaries and the way they screwed their employees. Her response was that basically, they were great because they allowed their employees to have piercings and color their hair any color they wanted. My response was “yeah, and once you grow up, lose the piercings and cut your hair, you could get a real job” – I don’t know why she got all hostile, but I heard later she was no longer at Earthlink.

    I guess my point is that there are a lot of municipalities that offer FREE wi-fi (I sat at a local Huntsville park and surfed while my daughter played, all free). I am not surprised that Earthlink is CHARGING customers for this. They should use their marketing geniuses to research how many poor people have computers, though. I think they might be surprised that not everyone sips lattes and surfs the web near Grady.

  6. Mystech says:

    Oh, I have no doubt that EarthLink isn’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. In these early ways of wide area consumer wifi, it’s important to become entrenched as a “utility” with each of these cities. It is my hopes though, that this entrenchment doesn’t discourage future innovations such as wimax and so forth.

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