US internet service provider EarthLink said this week that it would be shutting down its free and paid for metropolitan wifi service in Philadelphia.

Customers will have access to the service until June 12, after which date the ISP will pull the plug.

EarthLink’s decision to kill off the network doesn’t come as a surprise for some, as┬ámetropolitan wifi has been widely panned in the press. This isn’t the first time an EarthLink metro wifi contract has gone up in smoke.

Dean Bubley, of Disruptive Analysis, commented, “It’s been doomed to failure from the start, usually championed by bored local-government IT drones looking for a new bandwagon to waste taxpayers money on. There’s a long list of negatives, but chief among them is that outdoor WiFi doesn’t work indoors. It’s useless. It’s just wireless for traffic wardens.”

Indeed, the US ISP revealed that after months of negotiations with the City of Philadelphia and a non-profit organisation, in which EarthLink offered to transfer ownership of the entire $17m network for free, the talks have unravelled.

It seems you can’t even give it away.

“Since we have exhausted our efforts to find a new owner of the network, our only responsible alternative now is to remove our network at our cost and assist our wifi customers with alternative ways to access the internet,” said Rolla Huff, EarthLink’s chairman and chief executive officer.