Earthlink on the Rocks: SF and Chicago Call It Quits

The woes at Earthlink continue as both San Francisco and Chicago tell the company to pound sand after Earthlink announced that it expects the cities to chip in for the "free" WiFi networks they planned to operate. Based on Earthlink's decision to allow 900 employees to pursue other options compounded by staggering losses, I'd say they don't have the resources in either staff or funding to handle more than the all-but-decided Philadelphia project. Houston's gotten impatient enough to fine the company a cool $5M over missed deadlines.

I can't imagine this bad fortune for one of the nation's older ISPs is causing both glee and caution at Sprint, a company betting the entire farm on the future of WiMax. On the one hand, I'm sure they're glad to be rid of a competitor in several major markets. On the other hand, it serves as a reminder of the fickleness of the wireless market and how getting the signals into buildings is critical. Maybe their just-named Xohm service will navigate these stormy seas with more ableness than Earthlink did.

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