Hot Donkey! Free WiFi Could Be in San Francisco by Year’s End

San Francisco Picks Companies for Wi-Fi: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance: Although you should never take a politician’s timeline for anything and certainly using words like “hope” are a sure sign that it will take longer, but Google has now been selected to provide a blanket of free wi-fi to the City of San Francisco and Mayor Gavin Newsom says that he “hopes” that the service will be operational by year end.

From the article: “San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who first proposed a free Wi-Fi network in October 2004, hopes the service will be operational by year’s end.

Newsom believes free Wi-Fi will make San Francisco a more appealing place for businesses and help close the so-called “digital divide” by enabling more low-income households to connect to the Internet more easily.”

The free City supported wi-fi service in the Ferry Building certainly has had problems. It frequently is slow and has been simply unable to connect a number of times in the past, but even then you have to be in the main lobby of the building in order to get it at all. The Google supported wi-fi service at Union Square has been much more reliable.

An interesting afterthought to this free wi-fi service will be that companies that seek to put up internet filtering software on work networks will now have another issue to contend with, employees who simply bring their own laptops to the office and end up connecting free to the new Google wi-fi.

I guess I’m pretty lucky to be living in an area progressive enough to be able to envision free muni supported wi-fi. Hats off to Mayor Newsom for getting this done!

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4 Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    I wonder if this will cover the entire 7 x 7 grid of the city limits. Considering that many of those low-income areas are south part of the city (Bayview, Visitacion Valley, etc.), I would assume that my Bernal Heights home should be covered. That said, it’s hard to beat the $20/month, 3Mbps connection that AT&T; provides me today, but it sure will make wireless roaming around the neighborhood (or the whole city, for that matter) way more convenient. I guess I can shelve those plans to put a yagi antenna on the roof pointed at the local coffee shop…

  2. EnergyGuru says:

    For those of us in skyscrapers at work, anyone know how far vertically the wifi will reach?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Will this be a free for all connection? Or will you need an account to identify the user. How will they stop illegal downloading of copyrighted content?

  4. Mark says:

    Peh! What a backwater. Boulder, Colorado has had free wifi for the whole city since 2001.