Structure of Corpus Christi’s Muni Wireless

Published November 1, 2007

Corpus Christi is one of two cities to which EarthLink remains committed for municipal wireless, the other being Philadelphia, which stands as EarthLink’s highly visible entry into the field.

At the September Washington, DC conference “WiFi Done Right, Part 2,” Corpus Christi’s assistant city manager, Oscar Martinez, disclosed some details of the 10-year EarthLink contract, stating part of the success is understanding the culture of business, which can be much different from a government operation.

“You must understand the goals of your partners and how they fit into the city goals,” Martinez said

Under the terms of the Corpus Christi-EarthLink partnership:

  • EarthLink paid Corpus Christi $5.3 million for the 147-square-mile city network built and financed by the city’s municipal gas and water utility for $7 million.
  • EarthLink pays the city a franchise fee of 5 percent of revenues to pay for right-of-way and other costs associated with network maintenance.
  • EarthLink pays $237,000 per year for use of the city’s fiber-optic backbone to backhaul wireless network traffic.
  • EarthLink provides 10 free hot spots within the city, but not at airports and convention centers.
  • EarthLink must optimize the network to provide access to 95 percent of Corpus Christi households.
  • Corpus Christi will pay $450,000 this year for wireless network services from EarthLink. If the city uses less than $450,000 in services this year, the payments will be credited toward billings next year.
  • EarthLink will provide 100 hours a month of maintenance. Above that limit, maintenance is billed at $200 per hour.
  • EarthLink must provide wholesale access to its network, but it is permitted to charge prevailing market rates.

Steven Titch