Report on wireless process in Philadelphia

The Ethos Group has released a report at the New America Foundation’s web site entitled The Philadelphia Story: Learning from a Municipal Wireless Pioneer. It’s a critique of the process in Philadelphia’s Wi-Fi deployment. Stakeholders initially recommended nonprofit ownership and Wireless Philadelphia was created for that purpose. Then Wireless Philadelphia “sold out” to Earthlink. Why that happened and if it was a bad thing is open for debate.

The Minneapolis Wi-Fi story is told in detail and accurate for the most part. One error I caught is in the upfront contribution from US Internet. Total is $500,000 and not $1M as it states. The company gave $200,000 when the contract was signed and will give $300,000 when the network is accepted by the city. An RFP went out in July for asking for requests for up to $30K for projects that will aid digital inclusion. The proposals are currently under evaluation with an announcement scheduled for early next year. (I’m on the committee reviewing the proposals.)

I’m still reading the report so check the analysis at MuniWireless and Wi-Fi Network News.

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