ATLANTA and NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Doing its part to help rebuild the Crescent City, EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK) officially launches the City of New Orleans' municipal wireless network today -- the company's third market build out this year. The approximately 20-square mile Wi-Fi mesh network covers parts of the Orleans parish. EarthLink is supporting the City's rebuilding efforts by providing a free tier of service available up to 300Kbps for residents and businesses in New Orleans throughout the coverage area (http://www.emnwifi.net/cities/neworleans/). Consumers can access the free tier by logging onto the Web site https://featherwifi.net through the Wi-Fi access software embedded in their desk- or laptop computer. New Orleans residents will also have access to higher speeds via EarthLink Wi-Fi(SM) with down-and-upload speeds up to 1Mbps. For $21.95 a month, EarthLink Wi-Fi includes all the products and support consumers have come to expect from EarthLink, including eight mailboxes and the ISP's powerful protection tools, such as spamBlocker and the EarthLink Protection Control Center(TM). "Wi-Fi enabled communication during Hurricane Katrina when other means failed, so the City of New Orleans and its residents know the importance of this technology," said Donald Berryman, executive vice president of EarthLink and president of the ISP's municipal networks unit. "Today's launch brings a low cost Wi-Fi solution to the City and reflects EarthLink's commitment to helping residents, visitors and thousands of workers stay connected with low cost broadband service, at absolutely no cost to the city." "This is truly a great day for the city of New Orleans as we move into the 21st century with wireless Internet services that are available to all of our residents. We're looking at everything through a new lens and we're focused on innovation. Now, the City of New Orleans is in a position to move to the next level in technology," said Mayor C. Ray Nagin. "Advanced technology will help jumpstart this recovery and will allow us to create partnerships and programs that will manage our City more effectively to work with our business community, to rebuild and ultimately to get our citizens back home," Nagin added. What EarthLink Wi-Fi Brings To New Orleans EarthLink has won numerous honors and awards for its dial-up and high speed service and, today, officially adds its latest access offering for wirelessly enabled customers in New Orleans. In addition to EarthLink Wi-Fi and the free tier available via the Feather by EarthLink capture portal, EarthLink will offer a wireless broadband service with rates ranging from $3.95 for a one-hour pass to $15.95 for a three-day pass for occasional use customers. Occasional use customers will connect and access account information from the EarthLink portal page. The network will also serve as a platform for City, business and wholesale partners to access EarthLink's municipal network for their employees and end-users. As part of its commitment to open access, EarthLink will enable multiple providers, such as PeoplePC (http://www.peoplepc.com), to offer their Internet service to consumers and businesses over its network. The Technology Wi-Fi is short for wireless fidelity. It enables a person to connect his or her Wi-Fi enabled computer, cell phone or PDA to the Internet or another Wi-Fi enabled device, without a traditional 'wired' connection. Today's announcement marks the completion of the first stage of EarthLink's Wi-Fi build out in New Orleans. EarthLink will continue to expand the wireless network as additional sections of the City are rebuilt, in support of the recovery efforts. EarthLink has deployed Tropos Networks' (http://www.tropos.com) MetroMesh Wi-Fi routers on light poles throughout the city that enable reliable wireless data connectivity between users and the Internet. The Tropos system forms a wireless mesh, intelligently routing data to produce the best possible user experience. The network is operated and optimized using Tropos Control and Tropos Insight, a suite of end-to-end configuration, monitoring and maintenance tools. In addition, EarthLink has deployed Motorola's MOTOwi4(TM) portfolio of products, including its Canopy(TM) high-speed backhaul and Wi-Fi mesh network equipment. For more information on EarthLink Wi-Fi, please go to: http://www.earthlink.net/wifi. For more information on EarthLink's Municipal Networks business unit, please go to: http://www.earthlink.net/muni. About EarthLink "EarthLink. We revolve around you(SM)." As the nation's next generation Internet service provider, Atlanta-based EarthLink has earned an award-winning reputation for outstanding customer service and its suite of online products and services. Serving over five million subscribers, EarthLink offers what every user should expect from their Internet experience: high-quality connectivity, minimal online intrusions and customizable features. Whether it's dial-up, high-speed, voice, web hosting, wireless or "EarthLink Extras" like home networking or security, EarthLink connects people to the power and possibilities of the Internet. Learn more about EarthLink by calling (800) EARTHLINK or visiting EarthLink's Web site at http://www.EarthLink.net.