Springfield, Ill., has plug pulled by AT&T: AT&T said that it wouldn't deploy free service through the capital of the state. The state might still provide money for a free downtown and statehouse hotzone. The city has already met with a new wireless entrant Xanadoo, which is offering Navini's flavor of WiMax technology. Xanadoo has 2.5 GHz licenses covering 8m people in several states, including Illinois, and 700 MHz spectrum covering 170m people in major markets, according to a June 2007 press release.
Houston up? Houston down? The Houston Chronicle reports that EarthLink wouldn't comment on the future of the Houston network after the companies layoffs, where Houston is an anchor tenant, but is paying just $2.5m over five years for a network estimated to cost $50m to build. The city said they'd hold EarthLink to penalties if the contract weren't fulfilled. A utility pole agreement still needs to be signed and is overdue. The city told the Houston Business Journal, however, that EarthLink has committed to the mayor to build the network, but needed some time to get the company realigned before moving forward. Update: EarthLink pays $5m penalty; Houston can shop around.
Colorado cities agree on provider: 10 cities around Denver agreed to a common set of goals for a wireless network for economic development, emergency response, education, public safety, and visitors. There are 620,000 residents across 137 square miles. C-Com was selected to proceed into negotiations; they'll use BelAir gear. This network will allow public safety and municipal workers across the 10 centers to have access to a seamless network, too, which should aid in efficiency for shared services and tracking down criminals. The cities expect to pay for services, and estimated that they spend $4m collectively on voice and data; they would like some measure of free service on some basis to residents. Interestingly, C-Com wasn't on the list of respondees as of the close of the RFP process (EarthLink, Kite, and MetroFi were). Their site wasn't updated at this writing to include the release and information sent to reporters.
EarthLink CEO elaborates on layoffs, plans in call this morning: In a media/analyst conference call this morning, EarthLink's CEO Rolla Huff said that the municipal Wi-Fi business isn't going way. He said the company had scaled staff and resources ahead of potential, and for a few lines of business "we are scaling back their cost structures to make them the startups that they in fact are." He also said in regards to networks like Philadelphia, they will scale those networks "if we believe we can get to scale that covers our operating costs." Which implies that Philadelphia could still not be fully built out.
He also said intriguingly that because there are several constituencies which have a "vested interest in seeing municipal Wi-Fi networks exist"--which he listed as "municipalities, chipset makers, equipment manufacturers, or, yeah, even WiMax providers"--that "there could be an interest in a broader sharing of the costs." Does this mean that Huff has been on the phone with Sprint Nextel, Clearwire, Cisco's Linksys division, Intel, Apple, and others? Almost certainly Sprint Nextel and Clearwire; the other firms, less clear. It could make a lot of sense for WiMax providers to have a stake in Wi-Fi networks that aren't competitive but complementary.
Huff also reiterated the the model in which EarthLink fronts all the costs is "simply unworkable." Which we'd heard before, but this was a bit stronger than last time around.