EarthLink and the city of Philadelphia have closed a deal to provide residents wireless Internet access, the Associated Press reports.
The contract is for ten years, and EarthLink will own the network. Internet service providers will get a wholesale rate of $9 per month for use, and will then offer public access, according to Dianah Neff, Philadelphia’s CIO.
What consumers will have to pay is unclear at this point, but Neff says that ISPs will have the option to offer low prices because of the reasonable rate EarthLink offered them. City officials have expressed an interest in keeping the cost below $20.
If everything goes as planned, Neff says the network could be activated by spring 2007.
Philadelphia was among the first major cities to plan a wireless Internet network that won’t cost consumers an arm and a leg to access. A number of smaller cities across the nation already have wireless Internet networks, and the San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority recently announced plans to build a wireless network across the Silicon Valley region of Calif.
For more on the Silicon Valley network, read Silicon Valley May Go Wireless.