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Google/Earthlink Wins San Francisco WiFi Deal 149

maximander wrote to mention coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle of that city's final decision on their city-wide WiFi system. They've chosen to go with Google and EarthLink. From the article: "In choosing to negotiate with the Google-EarthLink team, the city is going with two Internet giants with marque names. Both firms have deep pockets and proven track records online, but only limited experience building a large wireless network. The project, championed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, is intended to boost the city's technology credentials and help bridge the digital divide between the Internet haves and have-nots. It has also generated intense interest from other cities looking to build similar networks. "
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Google/Earthlink Wins San Francisco WiFi Deal

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  • Bridging the gap? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:52AM (#15076788) Homepage Journal
    I've never seen a bum sitting out on the street with his laptop asking, "Wi-Fi connection? Spare a kilobit? Sir? Sir?" to passersby. Unless Mayor Newsom is handing out $100 laptops to vagrants on the street, I don't know how this bridges the gap between tech haves and have-nots. Any word on plans to provide more than radio waves to the have-nots?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:22PM (#15077087)
    Good try! but I'm sure as past posts have mentioned as soon as this thing comes close to being real (ie. the first AP comes online), the Telcos will put pressure on the powers that be to stall , or otherwise get a cut of the action for themselves.. Look at New Orleans and all their strife.. too much entrenched interest are at stake. But its nice to see some cities having the fortitude to try it.. Out of curiosity what is the largest metro wifi in place today?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:26PM (#15077130)
    If you had read the article you'd realize that the city is not paying a dime, but actually making money from the project. Google and Earthlink are footing the bill to get a foothold, actually paying money to the city to rent space for the towers. Google wants to pump out more ads and Earthlink wants subscribers.

    Win, win and win situation.
  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:36PM (#15077229) Homepage Journal
    It is really funny seeing Google playing the "big name with deep pockets" game so soon after their IPO. So much for "great technology with insightful capital".

    I put together the technical end of the first municiple mesh in the US using LocustWorld meshboxes. It happened only because I moved out of silicon valley to a small town with no municiple bureaucracy to schmooze up. There were just some folks who wanted wireless for tourists coming through their town and we even got it set up so the local ISP didn't get put out of business by the tax subsidy. They took some bids from guys that had no "pockets" or "marquee" at all, and got a solution. I look around at the solemn rhetoric about the wireless mesh in New Orleans subsequent to Katrina, and the rhetoric about rich and poor in San Francisco's wireless access and just thank my lucky stars I'm out here with a bunch of "inbred hicks who don't know what leading edge technology is."

  • by Xochil ( 542406 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:38PM (#15077249) Homepage
    Our mayor in SF, Gavin Newsom, coincidentally dating a scientologist.

  • Re:Bridging the gap? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:14PM (#15077637) Homepage Journal
    I know people my age who are perfectly capable of paying for DSL who don't feel a 24/7 broadband connection is a vital expense. Dial-up providers still cater to people for whom $10 a month is an acceptable cost for Internet access. This service is going to be speed-limited and ad-supported -- how do you even know it's going to be "broadband" for free?

    Tomorrow on Slashdot: some people claim not to own televisions, have landline phones, or read newspapers! How can we let this injustice stand?!
  • Re:WiFi, not Cash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:29PM (#15078358) Journal
    whose local coffee shop are to cheap to provide wifi access for their customers.

    You say that as if it's a bad thing. There is nothing that says anyone must provide WiFi to anyone. Certainly nothing compelling a business to do so. Unless you mean a bunch of slackers using the shops electricity to power their laptops and occupying tables all the while ordering one cup of coffee.

    Don't confuse cheap with being sensible. Maybe the shops don't want to deal with the expense and hassle of setting up WiFi. Sure, you could always offer to do it (you did offer your services to those cheapies, right? Right?) but they're the ones who will still be stuck with maintaining the system.

    Just because you think a coffeeshop should be providing WiFi for your use doesn't mean they agree. You want access in a coffeeshop, go to someplace which offers it or start your own shop and offer WiFi.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein