EarthLink Inc. launched a municipal Wi-Fi broadband network in Anaheim, Calif., and announced a wholesale Wi-Fi access strategy on Thursday.
EarthLink has won bids in several cities to provide citywide wireless Internet access, including Philadelphia and San Francisco, but Anaheim is its first commercial launch. Its also the first piece of a strategy to create a nationwide footprint of municipal Wi-Fi networks by tying together all EarthLink municipal markets under one service.
Hand in hand with creating the footprint will be an open-access wholesale program. The ISP already has two national wholesale partners, announced today: PeoplePC Inc., EarthLink’s wholly owned subsidiary, and DIRECTV. It also plans to partner with local ISPs that want to provide Wi-Fi service in their respective markets.
The portable, wireless service will provide high-speed Internet access for residents, businesses, visitors and municipal employees. Anaheims 49-square-foot buildout is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter. Curt Pringle, the mayor of the city, officially unwired the city at a wire-cutting ceremony this morning.
The days when Anaheim residents, workers and visitors are tied to a desk to access an affordable broadband network are coming to an end, said Garry Betty, president and CEO of EarthLink. The launch of this network enables people to make a choice about how, and from where, they want to access the Internet securely.
For $21.95 a month, Anaheim subscribers receive eight mailboxes and protection tools such as a spam blocker and security, and will be able to access the Internet from across the municipality, whether sitting in a park, at a café or elsewhere. Customers also can purchase a Wi-Fi modem for at-home use. In addition, EarthLink has reached a nonbinding agreement with AOL LLC and is discussing ways to offer its AOL.com content and Web assets on the municipal footprint.
The network also will serve city departments and businesses; EarthLinks wireless network offers speeds comparable to existing T1 solutions, the company says.
For occasional-use customers, EarthLink offers rates ranging from $3.95 for a one-hour pass to $15.95 for a three-day pass. Occasional-use customers will connect and access account information from the EarthLink portal page.
Consumers can visit www.EarthLink.net/wifi and provide their phone numbers and addresses to see if the network has been built out in their area. If unavailable, they will be added to a waiting list and will be notified when the service is available.
As for infrastructure, EarthLink has deployed Tropos Networks MetroMesh Wi-Fi routers on light poles throughout the city to form a wireless mesh that is operated and optimized using Tropos Control and Tropos Insight, a suite of end-to-end configuration, monitoring and maintenance tools. EarthLink also uses Motorolas MOTOwi4 portfolio of products, including the Canopy high-speed backhaul and Wi-Fi mesh network equipment.