Whilst one or two small cities are now claiming 100% WiFi coverage, Philadelphia has ambitions to cover its entire 135 square miles with the world’s largest wireless internet hotspot.
Major John F Street has formed a 14 member committee to plan the network and decide on access charges – some sources are speculating that the service may be free to residents, or at least very cheap.The project would help encourage tourism in the city and would complement the existing services in coffee shops and other businesses.
The project is expected to cost around US$10 million (€8.23 million), with annual maintenance amounting to about US$1.5 million (€1.23 million). The city intends to pay for the initial creation of the network, and then recoup the running costs from businesses and tourists. For example, tourists could pay for a day’s WiFi access with cross promotions to events and attractions, or businesses could pay a fee for a secure section of the network.
The current plan has a launch date of late 2005/early 2006.