NYTimes writes that ISPs are using Wi-Fi to battle the telcos:
The wireless option is attractive because it does not require building or leasing costly underground lines, and the cost of Wi-Fi equipment and installation is falling rapidly, said Donald B. Berryman, president of a new division of EarthLink, called EarthLink Municipal Networks.
“There is so much going on” in the wireless market, Mr. Berryman said. “We see this as a huge opportunity to grow our business.”
As part of the agreement with Philadelphia, EarthLink obtained public rights-of-way to build a wireless network covering the city’s 135 square miles. The company will pay the construction costs, which Mr. Berryman said could be as little as $10 million, compared with the hundreds of millions of dollars EarthLink would have to spend to lay copper or fiber cables for a conventional broadband network.
EarthLink is not alone in betting on Wi-Fi. Many smaller telecommunications players are bidding for Wi-Fi contracts with big cities like Minneapolis and New York, which are eager to attract new businesses, give residents alternatives to the cable and phone companies and make it possible for lower-income residents to get an Internet link.