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EarthLink is inviting anyone in Philadelphia to test its EarthLink Wi-Fi service for free for a few days, through January 21. EarthLink Wi-Fi offers download and upload speeds up to 1 Mbps.

Taking its first step toward covering most of the city, EarthLink has turned on service in a 15-square-mile proof-of-concept (POC) area in downtown Philadelphia.

"As we continue to work with EarthLink to build a Wi-Fi network across the entire City of Philadelphia, feedback from our residents, workers and visitors is key. So, why not let them try the network out?," said Greg Goldman, CEO, Wireless Philadelphia.

To connect to EarthLink's Wi-Fi network for free, customers let their wireless-enabled computers detect the network and select "FeatherByEarthLink."

For customers who have already purchased EarthLink's monthly service, EarthLink will proactively give a credit for this free trial period. During the promotion and beyond, consumers within the POC area can still sign up for EarthLink Wi-Fi for $21.95 a month. That service comes with eight mailboxes, and tools such as spamBlocker and the EarthLink Protection Control Center.

After January 21, EarthLink will continue to offer free Wi-Fi access to Philadelphia residents and visitors in designated free access areas, including Norris Square, Olney, Love Park and the Historic District.

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