EarthLink notifies Philly subscribers of network shutdown

EarthLink has notified subscribers in Philadelphia that it will discontinue its citywide wireless broadband service on June 12, 2008 (see press release). The company claims that it has failed to reach any agreement with the city for the transfer of the network either to the city or to another service provider. Wireless Philadelphia, the organization in charge of the project, has no comment (officially) but maintains that EarthLink does not have the unilateral right to take down the wireless access points. As a result, EarthLink has filed a petition in federal court asking for a declaration that it be allowed to do so and that its liability will not exceed $1 million.

I guess now is the time to revisit the EarthLink – Philadelphia contract so figure out EarthLink’s rights and obligations. Philadelphia, like San Francisco, was the “crown jewel” in EarthLink’s municipal wireless broadband business, which they have now abandoned. Other cities such as Minneapolis and Riverside, which are not EarthLink projects, have gone forward. Other smaller cities have focused their efforts on creating citywide Wi-Fi networks that are used for municipal purposes such as public safety.

Here are links to the Wireless Philadelphia – EarthLink contracts:

Philadelphia – EarthLink Network Agreement

Philadephia – EarthLink Network Agreement Exhibits

All documents relating to Wireless Philadelphia can be found at:

I don’t have time right now to analyze the contract between EarthLink and Philadelphia because I am traveling to Berlin today. If anyone cares to read it and analyze it, please post your comments below.

Stay tuned for more!

UPDATE: Wireless Philadelphia has issued a statement saying that the city is still trying to find alternatives to shutting down the network.


  1. Wow that’s really a shame. Such a waste of good infrastructure.

  2. Esme Vos says

    I wonder just how “good” the infrastructure is. If it’s really good, why can’t the city find someone to take over it at no cost to the city — just run it? Or why can’t the city sell wholesale access, which was the original Wireless Philadelphia plan? Or perhaps move some of the wireless access points to provide excellent coverage and bandwidth in key areas where there are a lot of people using Wi-Fi? There’s more to this story and I hate to speculate about it until we get more facts.