EarthLink ain't talking, progressing, in Houston deal: The Houston Chronicle reports that EarthLink hasn't yet signed a contract with the local utility, despite the expectation that that part of the deal to build the 600 sq mi network would have been done in April. The utility forwarded a final contract a month ago; no response. EarthLink isn't providing comments at the moment on anything to do with muni-Fi.
In Houston, the company got the city to agree to $2.5m in anchor tenancy on a proposed $50m deal. EarthLink would also have to pay $5m in penalties to exit the deal. The clock on timing doesn't start until they sign the utility contract, which was clever on their part. They're not technically late yet.
As I'm quote in this article, it seems entirely unlikely that EarthLink will build Houston. They'll take the hit and move on. $5m is a lot to pay out, but if you're trying to shed short-term expenses, $5m versus the $20m to $30m in equipment costs is a small price to pay. EarthLink might be able to negotiate an exit strategy, too, of course.