[Commentary] The big problem in providing Internet service to rural America is often called “the last mile” -- the difficulty in reaching the smallest communities and farthest-flung houses and farms. In cities, that problem might be called “the last block” -- the difficulty in reaching every neighborhood, no matter how poor. For a while, many American cities, caught up in a tide of technological and fiscal optimism, promised to try to make Internet coverage available to all by making it citywide, wireless and low-cost or even free. That has proved to be harder than it seemed at first. The neighborhoods that most need low-cost, public wireless service now find themselves largely dependent on Internet access through public libraries. This may not sound like a terrible thing, but have you seen what’s happened to the budgets -- and the operating hours -- of public libraries? Broadband service is no longer a luxury. It has become a basic part of the infrastructure of education and democracy. EarthLink should fulfill the commitments it made. Even in these tough economic times, cities should keep pushing municipal Wi-Fi and looking for partners and plans that can make it a reality.
- EarthLink Exiting Wi-Fi Business; Problems in Phil
- San Francisco, EarthLink have tentative Wi-Fi deal
- EarthLink To Shut Down New Orleans' Municipal Wi-Fi
- What's the Future of Municipal Wi-Fi?
- EarthLink studying muni Wi-Fi business
- EarthLink closing Philadelphia Wi-Fi network
- 1 step forward, 2 steps back for SF-citywide Wi-Fi
- EarthLink vs. City of Philadelphia
- Philly won't fight to save Wi-Fi network
- EarthLink is selected as Houston's WiFi provider
- Philadelphia to buy municipal WiFi network for city business
- Net Gain
- EarthLink to cut 900 jobs, close offices
- The Digital Philadelphia Project
- Wi-Fi fight in Chicago air