updated 04:50 pm EST, Fri February 8, 2008
EarthLink sells muni Wi-Fi
Marking a low point for efforts at public Internet, EarthLink has announced the closure of all its operations related to municipal Wi-Fi access, which are now on sale. The Internet service provider's venture effectively stalled in the summer, and will cost its budget $20.7 million. CEO Rolla Huff blames the stoppage on expenses; analysts note that EarthLink asked cities such as San Francisco to help pay for some upfront costs, but they were unwilling, leaving the burden solely on the corporation.
EarthLink might have continued with the project except that other divisions began to suffer financially, such as its stake in Helio, which ended up creating $111.3 million in losses. Anyone still on a municipal Wi-Fi network will continue to receive service, but only until assets can be sold off. Potential buyers may include the municipalities themselves, according to Huff. [via RCR Wireless News]