Philadelphia Wi-Fi Update

Posted by joy

In an article on today, there was an update on the Philadelphia municipal Wi-Fi project that is being built and soon to be deployed fully, starting in July 07. The system will provide outdoor and indoor access, and while you need to have a wireless capable computer, for guaranteed indoor service an EarthLink supplied Wi-Fi modem is needed. EarthLink, the ISP building the system, expects 5,000 subscribers in July and 12,000 subscribers by years end. I’d say that is an aggressive subscriber timetable.

Being curious, I nosed around the EarthLink FAQ for the municipal Wi-Fi service and found a few interesting tidbits.

1) To use Wi-Fi indoors, you are strongly recommended to purchase the EarthLink Wi-Fi product (i.e. the monthly fee plan which includes a Wi-Fi modem) to ensure you have a signal in your home. However, if you live on the upper floors of a high rise, you may be out of luck since the Wi-Fi signal may not reach there.

2) The Wi-Fi service is intended for use by one computer at a time. So, say you’re a multi-computer household, by the way this FAQ reads, you’re out of luck. In fact the EarthLink FAQ doesn’t address such a situation, only to say that if they catch you, “you will be charged $1 for every hour (or part of an hour) that more than one person is connected via your account. This service charge is capped at $21.95 per month.” Nice. Although later in the FAQ, EarthLink provides instructions on working with a home network, so as long as you have a router behind that Wi-Fi modem, you should be ok.

In another piece, two Inquirer reporters tried the outdoor available wireless in the current 15 square mile testing area. According to the article, sometimes the Wi-Fi worked and sometimes it didn’t. And honestly, I have yet to see a Wi-Fi system that reaches 100% saturation everywhere.

Outdoor Wi-Fi access in Philly can be purchased through Earthlink’s Feather product - with access available from 1 hour, 1 day and 3 day increments.

[tags] Philadelphia, Philadelphia wireless, Philadelphia Wi-Fi, EarthLink [/tags]

One Response to “Philadelphia Wi-Fi Update”

  1. Shelly Ray Says:

    Joooyyy. word up on the philly post.
    Yeah the earthlink wifi for philly seems a little f-ed up.
    every time i try to talk to customer service on their web site about it, they ask me for all this personal info before addressing my questions. not cool.

    when “city-wide wifi” was first pitched, it was pitched as this open access service the city would provide. three years later, here’s the situation:

    i live on the 11th floor of a high rise and get perfect wifi service via one neighbor or another 100% of the time. even on the roof, which is technically the 21st floor, the service is perfect.
    and because it’s a big crowded city, never once when i’ve sat down in a coffee shop, park, etc., have i opened my laptop and not been able to find an open, free connection.
    for people looking for more security, however, earthlink may be an option.
    but i’ve been able to make out pretty well without paying a per-hour fee.

    p.s. can you go to hell for stealing the internet?

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