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The Future of Municipal Wireless

When EarthLink announced its decision to withdraw further investments in municipal wireless networks in November 2007, the future of Philadelphia's network, along with hundreds of municipal wireless projects, became uncertain. Wireless Philadelphia, the nation's first big-city municipal wireless initiative, led the way for cities to invest in broadband infrastructure. Although a number of other muni wireless networks have been set up and are running successfully (such as St. Cloud, FL and Chaska and Minneapolis, MN) troubles with the Philadelphia model serve as a warning for the future of municipal wireless. Meanwhile, cities like Pittsburgh must overcome state pre-emption laws, pushed through by incumbent carriers, aimed at preventing towns and counties from filling broadband gaps with government-subsidized services.
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