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Wi-FI for San Fran.

August 17, 2005

San Francisco’s city government yesterday issued guidelines for its plan of “universal, affordable wireless broadband access for all San Franciscans.” The city wants ideas — from nonprofits and businesses, which would eventually bid on the Wi-Fi project — for making the entire 49-square mile city a cheap (or free) Wi-Fi zone.


San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom told AP that creating a network that is “not just cost-competitive with existing service providers, but substantially cheaper or free” tops his priority list for the project.


The California city, however, is taking its citywide Internet service a step further.


Newsom said, “We are going to be able to wire the city in a dynamic way so the entire city is a hot zone, but we are also going to be able to provide equipment in an unprecedented way.”


Dell and other computer makers already have pledged thousands of computers that will be given to residents of poorer neighborhoods, he said.


The invitation for citywide, cheaper Wi-FI makes San Francisco yet another major U.S. city attempting to bring Internet service to its residents on a major scale.


Philadelphia, the first big city to work on extending wireless Internet service throughout the city, is poised to choose a vendor to design, deploy and maintain a system that will cover the city’s 135 square miles.

Portland, Ore., Minneapolis, Charleston, S.C., and Orlando, Fla., also are at various stages in the same process, according to AP. As well, a number of small U.S. cities have created citywide wireless networks that are accessible to the public either for free or for a lower fee than is available commercially.


And in New York, we’re pretty much twirling our thumbs. Live in an older neighborhood of Brooklyn or in a "racially diverse" neighborhood of Queens (i.e., not upscale, i.e., low market potential, according to service providers), neither of which is a Wi-Fi hotspot? You have no choice but to go with DSL or dial-up or, in some cases, only dial-up. Bah.




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