Philly tries again for municipal broadband

    Philadelphia is trying a big municipal broadband project again. City officials hoped to set-up a wireless internet network that would cover the city, but the troubled system was sold to a private group.

    Philadelphia is trying a big municipal broadband project again. City officials hoped to set-up a wireless internet network that would cover the city, but the troubled system was sold to a private group. Now the city is asking the federal government for more than $21 million dollars in stimulus money to build a hybrid network of fiber lines and wireless devices.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091013lfinternet.mp3]

    The City’s Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank says the city would provide wi-fi signals to libraries, housing projects, recreation centers and community organizations in of parts west, north, and south Philadelphia, where a low number of residents have internet access.

    He says the city could also use parts of the same infrastructure so emergency responders, fire inspectors and other city workers could use handheld devices in the field.

    For example he says instead of jotting down notes and typing them up later, police officers could benefit from the technology.

    Frank: A device that can not only take pictures and send it back along with other information but also receive crime data, receive multimedia and video data and forth.

    Frank says the network would have to be set-up within two years if the stimulus money comes through.

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