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EarthLink offers free Wi-Fi in Philadelphia
Posted: 12-Jan-2007 [Source: EarthLink]

[EarthLink is offering access to its partially completed city-wide Wi-Fi network in Philadelphia free-of-charge through January 21, 2007.]

Atlanta -- Earthlink kicks off a service that will give Philadelphia residents, workers and visitors an opportunity to try on its EarthLink Wi-Fi(SM) product free-of-charge through January 21, 2007.

Available to consumers who live, work or visit EarthLink's 15-square-mile proof-of-concept (POC) area, which extends east of Broad Street and north of the Vine Street Expressway (http://www.emnwifi.net/cities/philadelphia/), EarthLink Wi-Fi offers down-and-upload speeds up to 1Mbps.

"Our goal is clear: build a state-of-the-art wireless network across Philadelphia's 135 square miles. A key to doing this is gathering valuable feedback and insights from users of the network as construction continues," said Donald Berryman, executive vice president of EarthLink and president of the ISP's municipal networks unit. "Further, we are happy to launch this service at this time, and hope residents and visitors enjoy Wi-Fi access, free-of-charge."

"As we continue to work with EarthLink to build a Wi-Fi network across the entire City of Philadelphia, feedback from our residents, workers and visitors is key. So, why not let them try the network out?" said Greg Goldman, CEO, Wireless Philadelphia. "We are happy that EarthLink has launched this free service and look forward to the valuable feedback that Philadelphians will provide."

Accessing the Free Service

To connect to EarthLink's Wi-Fi network for free, customers must use their wireless-enabled computer to detect the network and select "FeatherByEarthLink." Consumers will then complete a few short steps and be connected to the Internet. For customers who have already purchased EarthLink's monthly service, EarthLink will proactively give a credit for this free trial period.

During the promotion and beyond, consumers within the POC area can still sign up for EarthLink Wi-Fi(SM) for $21.95 a month with the products and support they have come to expect from EarthLink, including eight mailboxes and the ISP's powerful protection tools, such as spamBlocker and the EarthLink Protection Control Center. Qualifying customers also receive a Wi-Fi modem, which greatly increases the signal strength.

Free Doesn't Go Completely Away

EarthLink's free Wi-Fi promotion will end on January 21, 2007; however, free Wi-Fi in Philadelphia won't go completely away. EarthLink will continue to offer free Wi-Fi access to Philadelphia residents and visitors in designated free access areas, including Norris Square, Olney, Love Park and the Historic District.

Other Ongoing Services on the Network

In addition to signing up for EarthLink's monthly subscription product, EarthLink Wi-Fi, consumers can buy access at competitive prices in one-day, one-hour or three-day increments once the free trial is complete. Customers can also sign up for a monthly subscription from EarthLink's wholesale partners - People PC (www.peoplepc.com) and Pennsylvania Online (www.paonline.com).

The Technology

Wi-Fi is short for wireless fidelity. It enables a person to connect his or her Wi-Fi-enabled computer to the Internet, without a traditional 'wired' connection.

EarthLink has deployed Tropos Networks' (http://www.tropos.com) MetroMesh Wi-Fi routers on light poles throughout the 15 square-mile POC area that enable reliable wireless data connectivity between users and the Internet. The Tropos system forms a wireless mesh, intelligently routing data to produce the best possible user experience. The network is operated and optimized using Tropos Control and Tropos Insight, a suite of end-to-end configuration, monitoring and maintenance tools. In addition, EarthLink has deployed Motorola's MOTOwi4(TM) portfolio of products, including its Canopy(TM) high- speed backhaul and Wi-Fi mesh network equipment.

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