Civic News

City of Philadelphia to buy municipal WiFi network from Network Acquisition

The network will be utilized by the city for municipal services, like a public safety communications network.

A screenshot from Technically Philly's Wireless Philadelphia interactive timeline.

The City of Philadelphia plans to purchase for $2 million the city-wide wireless network once known as Wireless Philadelphia, currently owned and operated by Network Acquisition, the Inquirer reports.

Check out Technically Philly’s multimedia Flash timeline that follows the history of the storied Wireless Philadelphia network

The network will be utilized by the city for municipal services, like its public safety network and for its mobile city workers. Free access will remain available to the public in “targeted public spaces,” according to a City press release published by Philebrity. The City says it will need to invest $17 million through 2015 to improve the network.
The City has been in talks with Network Acquisition since it began convening stakeholders earlier this year to talk about the future of Philadelphia’s technology ecosystem, as we reported in our comprehensive Digital Philadelphia coverage.
Since the network was purchased from Earthlink by Network Acquisition, the network has seen its adoption increase from 10,000 unique users to 170,000, Councilman Bill Green said at a broadband policy panel in September. Green, who has long expounded the savings benefits of owning a municipal network, said that the city “blew it big time” when it did not purchase the network when Earthlink was pulling out of the deal last year.
The deal is pending City Council approval and is expected to begin operation in the spring.

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