Philly WiFi: "I'm Not Dead Yet."

The Philadelphia municipal WiFi network may have a temporary reprieve.

The network, which is about 80 percent complete, will now be taken over by Network Acquisition Company LLC, a new company of local investors that will assess the infrastructure and plans to complete the wireless coverage. Service for current users should be uninterrupted, officials said.

Then there’s this funny:

EarthLink had difficulty beaming the signal into homes, which City Councilman Bill Green cited as a reason the EarthLink model failed. But he also praised EarthLink for helping to save the network.

Under the new system, people can buy a $200 device called a repeater to bring the signal inside buildings.

I promise, the Earthlink model didn’t fail because the WiFi signal couldn’t get into houses. Earthlink sold the repeaters too, so if that WAS the problem the new owners won’t be successful either.

No, EL’s problems were legion, among them: No buy-in from the city, overestimating the market penetration, building in the wrong areas first, spending too much money on tower sites and most important: Believing the hardware vendor’s claims without testing.

That last one was the big killer because it led EL to install too few mesh nodes initially which then required a network redesign after construction had already started. That changed the economics of the whole project and took it solidly into the unprofitable side of the curve.

It also points to the naivety of the EL people that they believed a certain radio vendor’s claim of “Non-Line-Of-Sight” microwave. If you need more proof of this kind of silliness, refer back to my (much) earlier post on “Mid-path Interference” from the same people.

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