Wi-Fi Net Falls To Earth In Anaheim

The partners in California's largest municipal Wi-Fi net in Anaheim, Calif. have agreed to call it quits.

The Anaheim City Council voted July 29 to end the 20-year franchise it granted to Earthlink Inc. in 2005 to provide Wi-Fi service in the 50 square miles of the city. Unlike other municipal networks, the Anaheim deal allowed Earthlink to use city light and traffic signal poles for placement of hardware. It also used city fiber to connect to radio antennas. But the Wi-Fi network itself was considered to be a privately owned operation of Earthlink.

The city did promote the product's availability, however, touting the availability of Wi-Fi in the city's magazine, for instance. But apparently Earthlink's product, priced at $21.95 for a 1 Mbps service, could not efficiently compete with wireline competitors such as Time Warner Cable and wireless products from the likes of Verizon Communications Inc.

The termination agreement calls for Earthlink to remove all its hardware from the city's property.

The city Wi-Fi network will cease service Sept. 30, according to city documents.