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January 25, 2007

Atlanta Taps EarthLink to Build Out Citywide Hotspot

By Johanne Torres, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Residents, businesses and visitors in Atlanta will soon be able to surf the Internet while roaming around the city. This will be possible do to the city choosing Internet service provider (ISP) EarthLink to build, own and operate a municipal WiFi network.

When the ISP reaches a final agreement with the city, it will reportedly provide high-speed Internet access for users in the city with upload and download speeds up to 1 Mbps. Additionally, the Atlanta-based company vows to work with the municipality to provide qualifying residents with discounted Internet access.
"Atlanta has been EarthLink's home for many years, and we are excited about the opportunity to showcase this exciting new technology in our own backyard—and ultimately, change the way people access the Internet," said EarthLink's executive vice president & president of the ISP's municipal networks unit Donald Berryman in a statement. "Our municipal WiFi (News - Alert) solution will bring Atlanta residents, visitors and city workers an affordable high-speed Internet service."
EarthLink said on Thursday that it will also allow other competing providers to offer their services to consumers and businesses over its network. The ISP will have a wireless T-1 connection option for small businesses in the city.
"The city is excited to work with EarthLink, one of our premier technology companies. Atlantans will have access to high speed broadband throughout the City and will benefit from many life-changing applications—all without spending tax dollars," commented Abe Kani, chief information officer for the City of Atlanta. "Our city will also leverage the network to support economic development and enhance quality of life through innovative public safety applications and ensure digital inclusion."
Expanding on EarthLink's WiFi business, the ISP also made an agreement with VoIP service provider Vonage (News - Alert) recently to offer customers WiFi Internet access in select cities throughout the United States.
Vonage will buy Internet access on a wholesale basis from EarthLink in all cities where the company will build, own and operate municipal wireless networks. Vonage agreed to resell this WiFi Internet service to its consumers under the Vonage brand.
In addition to Atlanta, EarthLink has ongoing municipal WiFi contracts in Philadelphia; Anaheim, California; Milpitas, California and New Orleans.
Be sure to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet and Internet Telephony magazine. To see more articles by Johanne Torres, please visit her columnist page.


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