Earthlink today said it will terminate its Wi-Fi service in Philadelphia effective June 12, according to Barron’s. The report said that months of company talks with the city and a non-profit about handing over the $17 million system for free failed to reach a conclusion.
“Unfortunately, our hope that we could transfer our network to a non-profit organization that had planned to offer free Wi-Fi throughout Philadelphia will not be realized,” CEO Rolla Huff said in a statement. “Our only responsible alternative now is to remove our network at our cost and assist our Wi-Fi customers with alternate ways to access the Internet.”
It’s sad, because we want to see the free Wi-Fi thing work as much as anyone. But the widespread failure of free municipal WiFi also calls into question mobile media devices that rely heavily on WiFi for fast video and audio transfers—as well as ultra-portable laptops like the MacBook Air which have no way of accessing 3G data networks without an extra adapter.