TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Lobbyists Try to Kill Philly Wireless Plan

Lobbyists Try to Kill Philly Wireless Plan

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 23 Nov 2004 20:44:33 -0500

By MARC LEVY Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Philadelphia's plan to offer inexpensive
wireless Internet as a municipal service _ the most ambitious yet by
major U.S. city _ has collided with commercial interests including the
local phone company, Verizon Communications Inc.

In fact, a bill on Gov. Ed Rendell's desk that could humble
Philadelphia's ambitions began 19 months ago as a proposal drafted by
lobbyists for telecommunications companies.

Regional and long-distance phone companies, who sell broadband
Internet to consumers and businesses, have in recent months
intensified a national campaign to quash municipal wireless
initiatives like Philadelphia's as dozens of cities and towns have
either begun or announced such plans _ from San Francisco to Chaska,
Minn., to St. Cloud, Fla.

Telecommunications companies are doubly worried because hundreds of
other municipalities provide broadband service over cable or telephone

The idea of cheap, municipally provided Internet as social leveler is
particularly appealing to big city politicians.


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