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Philadelphia Chooses Wireless Finalists

Philadelphia has narrowed down to two the number of groups that have been competing to deploy its proposed city-wide network and hopes to see the deployment start in October, a city official said Friday.

The two finalists are consortia led by EarthLink and by Hewlett-Packard, according to Varinia C. Robinson, program manager for the Wireless Philadelphia project.

"We're in discussions with them and hope to move into the final stage for the contract within 30 days," Robinson said. "We hope to see deployment start in October."

Philadelphia's citywide wireless network has been a lightning rod in an ongoing battle by regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs), who claim that such networks present an unfair form of competition. By contrast, however, Intel Thursday rolled out its initiative to encourage municipal wireless networks.