Live: First Public Impeachment Hearings

Listen now on WHYY-FM, watch on WHYY-TV or stream online.

    Second chance for Wireless Philadelphia

    The city of Philadelphia is buying the assets of Wireless Philadelphia for $2-million. The network will be converted for government use only.

    The city of Philadelphia is buying the assets of Wireless Philadelphia for $2-million. The network will be converted for government use only.

    Wireless Philadelphia was the brainchild of former Mayor John Street. It was supposed to turn the city into a giant hotspot and provide low-cost Internet access to the poor. It never caught on. Its builder Earthlink gave up on the system and turned it over to another company to run, but that company went bankrupt.

    Philadelphia’s Chief Information Officer Alan Frank says the city is buying the system for pennies on the dollar. He says the network would be vital in the event of a disaster.

    Frank:
    One of the first things that happens in an emergency is that the cell phone network goes, and so this provides us with another way of communicating. In addition we are upgrading our radio network this year. Now think about if the radio system goes down; think about the ability to communicate through wireless devices.

    The network needs expanding to be citywide. Frank says the system will help the city expand its video camera surveillance network and bring the Internet access to all city facilities.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.