The city of Philadelphia is on the verge of deciding who get to build and run its WiFi project. While, Google WiFi has occupied the headlines today, I am watching this one closely. It could become the harbinger of things to come, and how cities decide to move forward when considering WiFi plans. I think the decision will also decide the fate of many parties including start-ups like Tropos Networks will end up finding a market for their mesh-networking gear. One company that has a lot riding on this is Earthlink. The dial-up business is shrinking and the Brand-X decision has put the company in a bit of a pickle. It needs muni-wireless to work, for its survival. My sources tell me, they have the inside track on Philly WiFi project. Information Week points out that Google WiFi squares off the search giant against the telecoms, and other incumbents. It also is a worrisome development for the likes of Earthlink, which wants to basically do what Google plans to do in San Francisco. If Earthlink wins in Philadelphia, then other cities have to take its proposals very seriously.