RealTime IT News

Corpus Christi to Reclaim its Wi-Fi Network

As expected, last night the Corpus Christi, TX City Council voted unanimously to reclaim its Wi-Fi network from EarthLink.

The city had signed a contract with EarthLink last March (2007), when EarthLink was feeling more gung-ho about the feasibility of its muni Wi-Fi ventures. The contract, which allowed EarthLink to build out the existing Wi-Fi network being used for municipal services into an income-generating, but low-cost broadband alternative for residents, obligated EarthLink to pay $5.3 million to the city, plus an additional $340,000, during the first year of service. EarthLink also agreed to pay the city $1.59 million over the course of the next three years.

Now that EarthLink has re-directed its resources away from muni Wi-Fi, the fate of the network was up in the air (as it were). Rather than leave its Wi-Fi asset in the hands of a company on the ropes, the City Council opted instead to take back control and return the network to its original purpose--smart meter reading and other municipal services.

Reports indicate that as part of the new deal, EarthLink will not be forced to pay up on the promised $1.59 million, but that as a parting gift, the city will get roughly $3 million in equipment and upgrades.

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet.