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EarthLink Plans Municipal Wi-Fi Sales At Retail Outlets

ISP EarthLink will expand its selection of services available through retail outlets with the addition of municipal Wi-Fi service and a DSL/home phone package.

EarthLink believes it will be the first company to sell municipal Wi-Fi service through retailers, whose names it hasn’t disclosed.

To sell the services, retailers will use GetConnected’s hosted service at the point-of-sale to check a potential subscriber’s credit and to activate accounts. National retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Staples, RadioShack and AOL use GetConnected’s platform to sign up customers for cable TV, broadband and telecom services from such providers as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

EarthLink’s municipal Wi-Fi service provides in-home and mobile broadband access throughout a city, whereas Wi-Fi hot spots offer service only in select locations within a city. EarthLink’s service is currently operating in five cities, and the company has signed contracts with or is negotiating with 13 other cities, a spokesman said. The five online cities are Anaheim, Calif.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Milpitas, Calif.; New Orleans; and Philadelphia.

EarthLink currently offers EarthLink Wi-Fi through its Web site at $6.95/month for the first six months and $19.95 after that. The service delivers data at speeds up to 6Mbps, offers eight email addresses with 100MB of email storage per address, and spam and pop-up blockers.

The planned DSL/home-phone package will bundle analog phone service with DSL broadband at up to 8Mbps at $49.95 to $69.96 per month. The service was launched in February 2006 and is available in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington. Service includes standard phone features as well as Web access to voicemail, online account management, call blocking and click-to-dial.