EarthLink Announces Halt on New Municipal Wireless Build-Outs

Jul 27, 2007
Nicole A. Ozer

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

EarthLink announces halt on new municipal wireless build-outs- San Francisco plan may be delayed.

See this post.

EarthLink President and CEO Rolla P. Huff has said that, "Until we're convinced that we can build new networks and get an acceptable return we will delay any further new build-outs."

Last year, it was reported by Business Week that internal EarthLink research revealed that the company expected to get a return on its wireless investment in Philadelphia in just two years–with 50,000–80,000 subscribers paying $22 per month for service. See here.

Today's announcement by EarthLink comes just a few weeks after Supervisor Peskin pledged to negotiate with EarthLink to ensure that any municipal wireless program have adequate privacy and free speech protections.

We strongly support increased access to the Internet. The leaders of the City of San Francisco should negotiate with EarthLink or explore other options that will increase access to the Internet, be economically viable for the companies, but not force community members to subsidize company profits with their privacy and free speech.

For more information about privacy and free speech issues, see our recent opinion piece in The San Francisco Chronicle here and our recent letter to the Supervisors here.

Nicole A. Ozer is the Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director at the ACLU of Northern California.