The Economist writes:
Small municipal wireless networks, typically built for local-government use, have been up and running in some parts of America for some time. The far bolder idea of building citywide networks available to all took flight in August 2004, when plans for such a network were announced by John Street, the mayor of Philadelphia. Stringing transmitters across the entire city would create the world’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot, providing access both indoors and out.
This would extend low-cost broadband access to existing users frustrated by the slow speed and high cost of dial-up internet connections.