Here is a blog post about the EarthLink and Arlington, VA wi-fi agreement. ELN gets county owned utility pole access and pays the city $40k per year. Only some access is free - parks, rec centers. For the most part it is pay. (We'll see how that works). One blogger writes:
"There are no apparent coverage requirements/benchmarks. Wherever the service is available, however, Earthlink will make sure than anyone can access, free of charge, certain county websites (i.e., “Walled Garden Service”)."
That's not really a walled garden. A walled garden is when you can only access some stuff when you are paying, like on cell phones.
It is owned, built, managed, and operated by ELN. The agreement was not exclusive.