Dedicated this week, the 55-square-mile municipal wireless network traces its genesis to a dog.
Internet provider EarthLink and the city of Corpus Christi, Texas dedicated a 55-square-mile municipal Wi-Fi network this week, thanks in part to a dog.
“It started as a way to protect water meter readers,” recalled EarthLink’s Donald Berryman in an interview Friday. “It started as a network to meet a city need after a meter reader was attacked by a dog.”
The city began rolling out a 20-square-mile pilot project in 2004 and gradually began adding to the deployment. Berryman, who is president of EarthLink Municipal Networks, noted that several hundred Corpus Christi citizens picked up the Wi-Fi signal and began piggybacking on the network free of charge.
Currently, the city’s residents can use the system with upload and download speeds up to 1 Mbps for a $6.95-a-month promotional rate for six months and $19.95-a-month after that. A 3 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload is also available at $9.95 for the first six months and $21.95-a-month after that. Berryman noted that EarthLink expanded the network somewhat after it purchased it from the city this spring for $5.5 million and after the firm committed to spend an additional $900,000 in upgrades.
“This (network) is a true public-private partnership,” said Berryman. “You have to realize that each side has to commit to make it work.”
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