By Larry Hendrick | February 8, 2008
Bad news coming from Earthlink, announcing they are selling their Muni WiFi division. I’ve written on Business Unusual many times about the problems surrounding the business model they were pursuing, but they never asked for my opinion. Pity …
FT.com /EarthLink to sell ‘Muni’ WiFi business
EarthLink, the internet service provider, is to sell its citywide ‘Muni’ WiFi wireless broadband internet access business as part of its plans to return to profit after six straight quarterly losses.
The worst part about this situation is that Earthlink still doesn’t get it. Look at this quote from the story given by the new CEO of Earthlink, Rolla Huff.
Mr Huff said, “It quickly became evident that we would have a really difficult time changing the perception by some of the cities that we owed them a free network rather than the city stepping up to make the business model viable …
Did you get that? It was the city’s fault that Earthlink’s business model didn’t work. Blaming others for your lack of a valid business knowledge and inappropriate technology shows a total lack of understanding.
So let me get this straight,
- Earthlink requested RFPs (request for proposal) from the cities
- Earthlink proposed offering free service to the cities in exchange for exclusive wireless rights
- Earthlink proposed offering free service in exchange for exclusive access to utility poles
- Earthlink proposed paying for it by selling bandwidth to retailers at cheap wholesale prices
- Earthlink proposed using 802.11 short-range indoor technology to cover 600 square miles (Houston)
- Earthlink proposed using a technology that is disrupted by leaves fluttering in the wind
And it’s the city’s fault it didn’t work. They are blaming their clients for their $32,000,000 (that’s $32 million) loss last year, up from $7,000,000 the year before.
Sadly, I don’t think the new CEO will be any more successful than the one he is replacing. He just doesn’t get it.Tags: Internet, muni-wifi, WiFi
Topics: WiFi |