updated 10/4/2005 9:10:48 AM ET 2005-10-04T13:10:48

Philadelphia is one step closer to its goal to set up a high-speed wireless Internet system for city residents.

A panel tapped by Philadelphia's mayor has chosen Earthlink over Hewlett-Packard to do the job.

The city's chief information officer says Earthlink would pay for construction and maintenance.

A contract is expected to be signed within 60 days.

Rates for private wireless access should run about 20 dollars a month, and the amount would be half that for low-income residents.

Citywide Wi-Fi networks are envisioned by dozens of communities across the country.  San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, Minneapolis and Orlando, Florida are among those also working on similar concepts.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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