The bad news from Chicago was compounded by the revelation that network operator EarthLink may be pulling out of the city Wi-Fi
business altogether, which suddenly isn't looking like such a good investment. There are similar problems in Philadelphia.
EarthLink estimated that it would be able to blanket the Philadelphia area with between 20 and 25 nodes per square mile (nodes transmit the network signal). However, coverage was poor and had to be raised to an average of 42 nodes per square mile--almost twice as many. Nodes cost money, of course, which means that EarthLink's financial output was suddenly much bigger than expected. No wonder EarthLink bailed on the Chicago project. It will now have to either charge more per month for service in Philadelphia or make less money. Meanwhile, city Wi-Fi looks like less of a bargain in the face of alternatives like $10 DSL.