"Wireless Philadelphia" moves forward

Philadelphia has released its official business plan for the city-wide Wi-Fi network it plans to build.

Philadelphia officially released its business plan for "Wireless Philadelphia" on Thursday. The city-wide Wi-Fi network will use utility poles to mount wireless gear to provide service to city residents at about $16 to $20 a month.

The city plans to use a cooperative wholesale model, similar to one that has been proposed by UTOPIA, a consortium of 11 cities building a broadband fiber network in Utah. Under this model, the city will create a non-profit organization that will contract out to private organizations that will build the network. The non-profit organization will get its funding through foundation grants and bank loans. It will earn revenue by selling access to private Internet service providers at wholesale prices.

The network should be up and running by the end of summer 2006, said Dianah Neff, CIO for the city.

Philadelphia also plans to provide low income residents with new or used computers to take advantage of the new network. The city will work with established community groups to provide training for residents so they know how to use the equipment.



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