October 5, 2005 By News Report
"In selecting EarthLink, Wireless Philadelphia moves one step closer to fulfilling its charter to strengthen the City's economy and transform Philadelphia's neighborhoods by providing high-speed, low-cost wireless access throughout the City," stated Dianah Neff, Wireless Philadelphia Acting Board Chair. "The EarthLink partnership is an unprecedented public/private partnership to provide wireless broadband access, as well as new and exciting future products in Philadelphia."
EarthLink will implement a 135-square-mile, city-wide WiFi mesh network, which is expected to be fully operational by the fourth quarter of 2006. The network is intended to provide:
"The two parties have reached agreement on the major business terms of the contract and are working to complete a definitive agreement within the next 60 days," said Donald Berryman, president, EarthLink Municipal Networks. "Initially, we will construct a 15-square-mile proof of concept area, and upon completion of the testing phase, Wireless Philadelphia and EarthLink will begin building out the remainder of the City's wireless network."
EarthLink will also help Wireless Philadelphia promote 'digital inclusion,' a cornerstone of the project -- which is a program to offer certain qualifying Philadelphia residents discounted Internet access at approximately $10.00 per month. For other subscribers to the network, EarthLink anticipates retail rates to be approximately $20.00 per month.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.