ATLANTA, GA. — EarthLink will build a city-wide WiFi broadband network in New Orleans, the company said Friday.

The New Orleans City Council has approved an ordinance granting EarthLink rights to build the wireless network. The initial coverage area includes 15 square miles.

EarthLink, which is building similar networks in Philadelphia and San Francisco, said it would offer a free service at speeds up to 300 kilobits per second. A paid service will be available for higher speeds.

“We are excited to welcome the investment of EarthLink to better connect our citizens and visitors through WiFi,” said Mayor Ray Nagin. “This is another indication that New Orleans is moving to the next generation of technology. It’s one more sign that New Orleans is rebuilding for the future; creating a safer, smarter and more efficient environment for all people.”

EarthLink will utilize WiFi routers from Tropos Networks. They will be attached to light poles.

EarthLink: www.earthlink.net