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Wireless Philly Loses Head

Even as the new municipal wireless network in Mountain View, Calif. lights up, the leader of one of the most scrutinized muni-WiFi projects in the country is leaving to join the private sector. (See Mountain View Gets Free Access.)

Dianah Neff, the CIO of Philadelphia and the head of Wireless Philadelphia, will leave her current post Sept. 8 to join Civitium, a consulting firm created in 2004 to help cities, counties, and foreign governments plan and build wireless networks.

Neff, who helped shepherd the Philadelphia project through political and business opposition, describes her departure as "the right opportunity at the right time." Neff was appointed by Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street in 2001.

"We are building the [Philadelphia] network at this time, Mayor Steet is getting toward the end of his term, and this is a good opportunity to take what we've learned here and be able to do it on a global scale."

Many observers, however, remain skeptical about the viability of the Philadelphia network -- and to them, Neff's departure may be seen as a convenient exit before reality sets in.

Get the full story at Unstrung.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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