Behind the Move to Bring Wireless Technology to Philadelphia

Dianah Neff, CIO for the city of Philadelphia, is leading Wireless Philadelphia, a $15 million digital infrastructure project established to give 200,000 residents and businesses low-cost Internet connectivity using wireless technology.

Who decided to take Philly on a wireless route?
I had been watching what was going on in the wireless industry. The price points had come down, and the standards had emerged.

I looked at that and applied it to the needs of what Mayor [John F.] Street was looking to do. He had final say.

Where are the benefits?
We have some estimates that say we could generate 3,000 new jobs over five years. For example, we have a grandmother who made candles. She created a Web site and sold her candles over the Internet using wireless access. We also plan to raise the Internet connectivity from 58% to 80%. We are working with school districts and parents to access homework online and other initiatives. How much will it cost private citizens to subscribe?
Depending on the final technology and the service providers we choose, we're looking at $10-$20 per month at the low tier. If you need a T-1 connection, the rate will be more.

This was first published in April 2005

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