EathLink’s Wi-Fi customers in Philadelphia received news today that their Wi-Fi service is coming to an end. The former leader in municipal Wi-Fi deployments will provide its customers with a thirty-day transition period through June 12, 2008, after which point it intends to dismantle the network and remove its equipment.
The city has known for several months that EarthLink intended to leave. The Atlanta-based ISP had sought a buyer for the network, and plans were also in the works for a non-profit organization to take over management of the Wi-Fi network, valued by EarthLink at $17 million. In addition to handing over the existing network free of charge, EarthLink had reportedly also offered to make a substantial cash contribution and to donate new Wi-Fi equipment—as it did in Corpus Christi, TX—but, an agreement between the city, the non-profit, and Wireless Philadelphia was not reached in time to satisfy EarthLink’s desire to cut its losses and move on.