It looks like the deal for San Francisco, California to be able to offer its citizens free wireless access from Google and Earthlink may just be heading for approval. It seems the next hurdle is to get approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which will then, it is hoped, start the construction process. It seems like it’s been quite a while since we first heard about the free Wi-Fi for SF.
So what will this mean to the rest of us? If this experiment (because that is exactly what it is – an experiment) proves fruitful for all parties, this could open the door to more free Internet access in other areas. Google’s investment, along with Earthlink’s, will provide the main construction funding for the project, which will offer two forms to broadband connections: one free, paid for by advertising, and a second premium service for $20 month. The Wi-Fi network is expected to cover the entire city once completed.
Something I was not aware of is that Google is already operating a free Wi-Fi service for the citizens of Mountain View, California, where it is headquartered and which began in August 2006.
I guess the only question I would have is how free Wi-Fi would effect the smaller businesses who use Wi-Fi hotspot connections to attract customers. There has to be some economic downside for these establishments.
I know I’ll be keeping a eye on the situation In San Francisco and seeing how well it goes.
[tags]google, earthling, wi-fi, free, San Francisco, mountain view, california [/tags]