Earthlink A No-Show At Council Wi-Fi Hearing

Will Wireless Philadelphia fulfill Mayor Street’s soaring vision of a city where all residents enjoy affordable Internet access or will it end up like man’s early attempts to fly by strapping on homemade wings and jumping off a cliff? The grimmer view dominated yesterday’s City Council technologywirelessphilly2.jpg committee hearings into Wireless Philadelphia’s progress.

Councilmen Frank Rizzo Jr. and Brian O’Neill were appalled that Atlanta-based Earthlink, Inc. — the Wireless Philadelphia provider that recently announced it was getting out of the wireless-city business — did not show up to testify. O’Neill said he had received a statement “allegedly from EarthLink” on a sheet of paper with no letterhead and no signature, so he had no idea who wrote it.

“This is pretty sad in terms of a corporate response,” O’Neill said, adding that he felt there is a “real possibility” that “they’re going to depart” Philadelphia. Rizzo called EarthLink’s absence “a disgrace.” “You ask EarthLink to come and they say no,” Rizzo said. “You ask how many customers they have [in Philadelphia] and they can’t tell us or they won’t tell us.” MORE

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