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Wireless Networking Hardware

San Fran Mayor Declares Wireless for All 272

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the throwing-down-the-gauntlet dept.
arvind s. grover writes "San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom stated yesterday in his state of the city address that every San Francisco resident will have free wireless internet access. They don't seem to have much set up yet, and no proposal was laid out for the installation of access points in every nook and cranny of the city. I wonder what vendor is going to get that contract...You might be better off finding a wireless node using NodeDB or this oddly-titled site: cheesebikini."
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San Fran Mayor Declares Wireless for All

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  • How...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Poleris (811180) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:09AM (#10613835) Homepage
    Is this mayor going to pay for this.
    • Re:How...? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dr. Evil (3501) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:10AM (#10613841)

      No, the taxpayers will. The mayor's friends will get the contracts though.

      • Re:How...? (Score:3, Insightful)

        And pay the taxpayers shall. What could be the possible benefits to this? You need a computer to access the internet. I would awesome those who have a computer one are on average better off socio-economically than those who want one. This barrier to access (computer) itself prevents universal wireless from enhance equality, which is what I see as a major part of any governments role. Further many people (not just politicans) see this magic causal link between technology and better economy, educated popu
        • Re:How...? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bigman2003 (671309) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:40AM (#10613947) Homepage
          And how many people who live in the city of San Francisco cannot afford a computer?

          The median income [msn.com] is $74,000 per year.

          San Francisco is a fairly expensive place to live, there are not a lot of poor people there. I'm sure they are only concerned with the people who actually have an address- not homeless people, who don't pay taxes, or vote.

          Then again- cities spend a lot of money on streets, traffic lights, etc. And not everyone has a car...
          • Re:How...? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by (SM) Spacemonkey (812689) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:51AM (#10613978)
            Then again- cities spend a lot of money on streets, traffic lights, etc. And not everyone has a car...
            Traffic lights and such exist for safety as much as anything else. They also help people without cars, ever j-walked in peak hour? Perhaps internet give security for democracy by allowing free access to information. In that case I propose spending more money on libraries, with internet access. But I suppose libraries aren't sexy enough for a politican. Now wireless! That gets votes.
            • Re:How...? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by bigman2003 (671309) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:01AM (#10614014) Homepage
              So city tax money can only be spent if it helps out the lowest common denominator? What about the other 99.99% of the residents (those paying taxes)?
            • This sounds like it is going to be another bloated public project where a private firm will end up with some sort of monopoly over some aspect of the service.

              IMO, there is a better way---

              Provide a publically run wireless network and then allow people to choose internet service providers on it. THis would help to drop prices and increase service, not by outsourcing to the private sector (this approach by itself doesn't work) but by promoting competition.
            • Re:How...? (Score:3, Informative)

              The San Francisco public library already has umpteen computers with Internet access as well as plug-in access for laptops. One can sign-up for hour or half-hour access - although the wait is long as many people use this service.

            • haha (Score:3, Funny)

              by geekoid (135745)
              believe me, if they didn't have traffic lights, Jay walking would be safer. Because the city would be a constent gridlock.

          • Re:How...? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by autarkeia (152712) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:09AM (#10614035) Homepage

            San Francisco has a ridiculously high poor and homeless population. It's truly obscene. However, you can bet money that the mayor is thinking much more about the poor and the homeless and the agencies that support them than he is about rich Pacific Heights Ladies Who Lunch. Google for "Gavin Newsom" and see what the guy stands for, and what's he's done for San Francisco. He's pretty cool.

            The median income is so high because there are so many people here with so much money. "Poor" people here make more money than "poor" people in other areas, though, largely due to higher-than-federal minimum wage laws. Still, there are huge swaths of San Francisco that are "poor," and the mayor has focused a large part of his administration on serving the poor and the homeless.

            • Google for "Gavin Newsom" and see what the guy stands for, and what's he's done for San Francisco. He's pretty cool.

              Too bad he's a replicant [thewavemag.com].
            • Re:How...? (Score:3, Informative)

              by geg81 (816215)
              The median income is so high because there are so many people here with so much money.

              If the median is $74000, it makes no difference whether the people above the median all make $75000 or $7.5m, the median will be unaffected.
            • Re:How...? (Score:2, Insightful)

              by magarity (164372)
              San Francisco has a ridiculously high poor and homeless population. It's truly obscene

              Transient homeless migrate to whereever they get the most handouts. It's a real problem here in Denver as well. They know that a lot of people in this area give handouts so they flock here. Same with SFO. See your own last sentence:

              the mayor has focused a large part of his administration on serving the poor and the homeless

              Let me guess: this a focus on shelters and free meals? I bet if it was a serious trans
              • Re:How...? (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward
                Actually, Newsom was elected on a platform of cutting cash benefits and actually enforcing the panhanding laws. (Most of the "homeless" bugging the tourists aren't really represenative of the population.)
            • Re:How...? (Score:4, Informative)

              by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @12:31PM (#10614660)
              This article [commonsensewonder.com] may show some insight into the reasons why there were so many homeless people in the first place in S.F. and why the numbers might be going down soon. I couldn't believe the city gives cash handouts to the homeless. The money they give out is not enough to rent even the cheapest housing in the San Francisco area, but it is enough to fuel one hell of a drug binge, which regularly kills [kron4.com] many homeless people every year. Cash assistance for the homeless was seen as a good idea for understandable reasons, but now that the negative effects from it are clear, the 'progressive' thing to do would be to stop the cash handouts and use the money to provide actual services to get people off the street.
              • The money they give out is not enough to rent even the cheapest housing in the San Francisco area, but it is enough to fuel one hell of a drug binge, which regularly kills many homeless people every year.

                so... its working?
          • Re:How...? (Score:2, Informative)

            by geg81 (816215)
            And how many people who live in the city of San Francisco cannot afford a computer? The median income is $74,000 per year.

            That's probably because the median income only counts those who are actually employed. But San Francisco has a large population of unemployed, illegals, and/or homeless. Those people could be helped quite a bit by widespread and cheap Internet access.

            Note that in those statistics median household income is only slightly above the national median, while the median income (i.e., the i
          • Re:How...? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dfn_deux (535506) *

            San Francisco is a fairly expensive place to live, there are not a lot of poor people there. I'm sure they are only concerned with the people who actually have an address- not homeless people, who don't pay taxes, or vote.

            This is a ridiculous statement from someone who has obviously not been to San Francisco. SF has some of the largest housing projects in the state. Also, it has rent control laws from the 60's which means that many of the people who live in the number streets south of Golden Gate park ar

    • Anything you think is expensive now, just wait til the government provides it for "free". See esp: health care.
    • How feasible would it be to pay for something like this by screwing the citizens out of some privacy they now enjoy? Set up a node with an RFID scanner + a GPS unit + a WiFi card on a small mainboard (perhaps a mini-ITX or somesuch). Place the nodes where the electricity already is (light posts, city street corners, people's homes), and install a free software OS and a daemon that reports RFID data to some central database(s) as people, cars, etc. walk by with their RFID tags.

      The point of all this being
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:09AM (#10613838)
    Ah socialism, take from the upper middle class and give to the lower middle class
    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:35AM (#10613932) Journal
      Ah socialism, take from the upper middle class and give to the lower middle class

      When you're dealing with multinational corps for services, socialism lets you get maximum buying power and save money.

      I'd say the ideal approach would be to have the city own the infrastructure and contract out the services, then make infrastructure maintenance and improvements a condition of the next round of contracts. That would ensure that the city maintains the ability to easily change companies and prevent them from ever being held over a barrel by their supplier.

      • When you're dealing with multinational corps for services, socialism lets you get maximum buying power and save money.

        In what bizarre vision of socialism do multinational corporations even exist?
      • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @11:45AM (#10614449) Journal
        I'm guessing that Pacific Bell already owns most of the wired infrastructure, and I'm not that sure it would be cost efficient to build and maintain a second wired infrastructure.

        San Francisco's [wikipedia.org] advantage is that it's such a small big city. A population of 776,773 and an area of 47 square miles yields a density of 16,526 persons per square mile. I have no idea how they plan to do this, but if they spent $20,000 per square mile for wireless equipment*, that's less than $1,000,000. Outdoor WAPs can be had for as little as $330 [metrix.net] or inexpensive consumer routers can be adapted/ruggedized with tupperware.

        So, your point is a good one. The City could build out a wireless infrastructure fairly cheaply, and leave the actual operation to a private contractor.

        *The number of $20,000 was conveniently pulled out of my ass, and left no marks fortunately. I don't see how this could go higher than $100,000/sq. mi. if they use off the shelf equipment, though, so that's an infrastructure cost of $5 million. Peanuts! This is the sort of thing that attracts business and tourism, so I have no doubt it could pay for itself.
        • Not at all true. I live here. Comcast/ATT just rewired the city for fibre, and another company is doing likewise (RCN?).

          There is so much bandwidth here under the streets. I still have dificulty believeing how much t-mobile and even the local outfits get to gouge on Access Prices to wireless. I mean, its a DSL line and a 100 dollar router...

          • Hey, it was my guess, based on seeing huge spools on SBC trucks on Market Street a few or more years ago.

            Thanks for the correction, but the point still stands: A wireless infrastructure needs to connect to a wired infrastructure at some point if it is to provide access to the internet, and the wired infrastructure is already in place, for the most part. No need to reinvent (or rebuild) the wheel.
      • When you're dealing with multinational corps for services, socialism lets you get maximum buying power and save money.

        Lets who get maximum buying power?

        Even if it is true true that socalist enconomies are more efficent when dealing with monopolistic corporations (and I would dispute [econlib.org] that), the fact that their muiltinational has nothing to do with the effectiveness of socialism vs. capitalism. In a free market, a U.S. company can price gouge you just as easily as one from China. But of course that's a goo
      • When you're dealing with multinational corps for services, socialism lets you get maximum buying power and save money.


        Which brings to mind, one of the most amusing things I have noticed about socialist 'success' stories out there. The wealthier people in their socialist societies very often seem to have gotten that way (at least in some significant part) by dealing with capitalists outside of their socialist system. Either that, or they were fortunate enough to have come from wealth before the countrie
      • socialism lets you get maximum buying power and save money

        I don't want to be insulting, but... Are you a complete idiot?

        In practice, socialism guarantees a broken implementation of whatever you are doing, with a massive cost far above what commericial interests would do it for. Since socialism does not have to justify the expensive and make a profit, there is absolutely zero incentive to keep costs at a reasonable level. After all, you can always steal^H^H^H^H^H tax the people to cover the waste.

        I

    • Ah socialism, take from the upper middle class and give to the lower middle class

      I suppose you were just being facetious, but there are a number of reasons why it may make simple economic sense do basic infrastructure this way.

      Stuff like networking tends to end up being a monopoly anyway, and there are advantages to it being a democratically regulated one--the government has to be responsive to voters, is bound by the first amendment, etc.

      Once the city has decided to roll out wireless everywhere, ther

  • Good idea...but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deanj (519759) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:10AM (#10613840)
    Good idea and San Francisco is a great place to visit, but shouldn't they do something to help the unemployed and homeless in that town? And when I say "help the homeless", I mean REALLY help them, like get them a place to live and a way to make a buck, not just handouts, which they've done in the past.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually I think SF has a "workfare" program where if you show up at certain places in the morning (and you aren't drunk or high) you can get work for the morning sweeping and cleaning. Granted you aren't going to get paid much and really sucks but if you need a way to get on your feet it can be a start. Do that for a couple of mornings, rent a motel room for a week, get cleaned up, find a shitty fast food job, then just start building from there....easier said than done but at least it's a possibility.
      • You are conflating two things - the PAES welfare to work system and the General Assistance program.

        The PAES program offers job training and support services to people who want to work and have some vague possibility of finding work.

        The General Assistance program gives out cash for people who are willing to sweep the streets. See my post elsewhere for how this program of using Welfare recipients as slave labor for the Department of Public Works got started. This program is where you find the drunks and w
    • by pyrrhonist (701154) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:24AM (#10613887)
      Good idea and San Francisco is a great place to visit, but shouldn't they do something to help the unemployed and homeless in that town?

      What do mean? The Mayor gave them free WiFi! FREE!
      They don't even need the cardboard sign that says, "Will work for bandwidth", anymore.

      Seriously, what more do they need?

      </SATIRE>

    • by seudafed (575243) <sking.zonelabs@com> on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:26AM (#10613893)
      My girlfriend is interning at Berkeley Mental Health. You'd be suprised how many homeless people have web pages or at least email addresses.

      sky
      • by bigman2003 (671309) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:11AM (#10614040) Homepage
        That's because in Berkeley, a ton of the 'homeless' people are just kids who thought it would be awesome to 'hang out in Berkeley all day and bum money for food.'

        I would guess that Berkeley has one of the lowest average ages for homeless people. I always enjoy walking down Telegraph, and having kids with dreadlocks come up, and ask for food- while flashing teeth so straight, that his parents are probably still paying the orthodontic bills. These kids hang out with their Che Guevara t-shirts, and talk about how 'everything should be free'. But aren't willing to do anything other than ask for handouts.

        Also, while sitting around in Davis CA, I've watch the same 'homeless' kids talk about going back to Berkeley, because they can earn a few hundred bucks on Saturdays. (In Davis, they generally hang out in front of Baskin Robbins, Chipotle, or Newsbeat). Of course after hearing them say this- the proceed to ask me for money 'for food'.

        I really hate those kids...
        • by Fnkmaster (89084) * on Sunday October 24, 2004 @11:53AM (#10614483)
          This is a college town phenomenon. I live in Cambridge, MA and we have tons of 15-25 year old semi-homeless kids. Sure, there are the 50 year old, Vietnam vet, burned out folks (many with serious mental health issues), and the older guys who are career panhandler Spare Change selling types - these are usually the loudest, slickest panhandlers, but they are numerically fairly small, whereas you see tons of the panhandling kids.


          Most of them seem to be disaffected teenagers who have temporarily run away from home or something along those lines. And sometimes they aren't actually homeless at all, they just panhandle because they think it's cool (no, I'm not kidding).


          Ah well, the nice things about Cambridge more than make up for some of its eccentricities. College towns with rampant communist subcultures are magnets for this sort of thing (makes you realize what would happen if an entire society decided to depend on other peoples handouts and decided to stop doing productive work).

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This will help the homeless. Now they won't have to buy an expensive latte while getting their Internet access.
    • by e40 (448424) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:26AM (#10614097) Journal
      Federal social services have been cut, steadily, since the early 80's, started by Reagan. In the 80's there was a flood of homeless into the street from mental institutions. Anyone in Berkeley in the 80's could tell that most of the people on the street were plain nuts and needed full-time help.

      Berkeley and SF are tolerant places. The cops don't throw them in jail (or beat them and tell them to get out of town). Many places across the US are very intolerant of homeless people, and will run them out of town.

      The weather is good most of the year (not too cold, little rain).

      Put all these factors together, and you get a recipe for attracting homeless people from all over the country.

      It's not an SF problem, it's a US problem. The US should do something about this.
      • by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @11:21AM (#10614333) Homepage
        We emptied the mental institutions because there was a general concensus at the time that these people were being abused by being kept in an institution. It was much cheaper to keep them locked away somewhere than it was to dump them out on the street and then try to clean up the mess. But, the decision was made that somehow it was unfair to these people to lock them away.

        Now, mental institutions have never been one of my favorite places to visit, and especially not as an inmate. However, did we really do these people a service? I think not. However, this was absolutely not a case of "shrinking social programs" - this was all about liberating the mentally ill. Look where it got us.

    • by ergo98 (9391) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:39AM (#10614149) Homepage Journal
      The best way to help the least fortunate is often by increasing the size of the economic pie - basically by making the middle class richer by encouraging economic commerce and innovation (cue naïve sarcastic remarks about Reagan's trickle down economics. Note, however, that I'm talking about the middle class rather than the rich. Furthermore, I am not speaking about tax cuts, but rather programs or initiatives that expand the economy, such as encouraging technological growth). Perhaps the premise behind free wireless is that it will lead to a slew of new programs and services in the San Francisco area that will lead to a lot of taxable commerce - tax revenue that can then be used to provide mental health support for some of the homeless. The most effective route to a goal isn't always the most direct.

      BTW: An enjoyable read for the armchair economist is the very enlightening The Birth of Plenty : How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created [amazon.com]. It basically covers why some countries achieved such prosperity (hint - it isn't that they stole it from the poor countries).
    • Good idea and San Francisco is a great place to visit, but shouldn't they do something to help the unemployed and homeless in that town? And when I say "help the homeless", I mean REALLY help them, like get them a place to live and a way to make a buck, not just handouts, which they've done in the past.

      While the submitter stated Newsom's goal of wi-fi access for all, the focus of his speech *was* on the homeless problem in San Francisco.

      He said that, "Homeless are the new symbol of San Francisco" [sfgate.com] and pro
    • A few years back San Francisco passed the "Care not Cash" law where instead of just providing homeless people money they tried to find the a clean place to live, help them sober up and find a job. By pooling together the money from many homeless then can get better deals for a place to live. I read a few newspaper articles where the former homeless all had positive response to the effort.
    • by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @01:05PM (#10614819)
      And when I say "help the homeless", I mean REALLY help them, like get them a place to live and a way to make a buck, not just handouts, which they've done in the past.

      Newsom's campaign emphasized this issue. I'm not sure I agree with his approach, but suffice it to say he is not ignoring the homeless problem in order to implement free wireless. There is a measure on the city ballot to increase the sales tax and give all of the increase to social services. It will probably pass.

      The thing is, homelessness is an enormously expensive problem to solve, probably beyond the means of any individual city. Cities that "solve" their problems with homelessness do so by shifting the burden to other cities--it's not like anyone checks your passport when you take BART in from Concord. There is nothing to stop Concord from cutting its social services budget to nothing, so those people are forced to go to San Francisco for their methadone. This is what has happened all over America. And why not? If you can get rid of your drug addicts and homeless by CUTTING the social services budget, why not do so? Nobody wants these people in their neighborhood. We need to stop shifting this problem around and solve it on a national level. Unfortunately, it's hard to muster the political will. When suburban people see that their communities have no homeless, they assume the problem has been solved, and it hasn't.

      Wireless access, on the other hand, is relatively cheap, and can be done with or without national cooperation, so it doesn't make sense to put this on hold until we solve the problem of homelessness. It isn't merely a lack of $2-3 million that is at the root of the problem--if that were the case, a rich, liberal city like San Francisco would have solved it a long time ago.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:12AM (#10613853) Homepage Journal
    I mean, the wireless isn't "free", taxdollars are paying for it. Unlike private solutions, people who don't use it will still have to pay for it. I'm not quite sure I like the government providing a non-essential service when there are already alternatives. Now the question is, does it mean increased revenue from tourism, better reputation, etc counterbalance the costs of the wireless access points/maintenance? Will some prosumers even want to use this service(as it may not be as reliable)? TFA was short on details, I'm willing to bet the mayor is trying to get re-elected, so he probably hasn't answered any of these questions yet.
    • by Rayonic (462789) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:28AM (#10613900) Homepage Journal
      > I mean, the wireless isn't "free", taxdollars are paying for it.

      Indeed -- and what if I don't like the wireless service the city provides (the service is slow, etc.) I could get cable or DSL internet access, but then I'd essentially be paying for two internet connections.

      Then there's the issue of rules. What kind of access restrictions will a city put up? Could you, in this instance, host a web site that gay people find insulting? I've never been banned from a service that I still had to pay for afterwards...
    • well.. when you make paying something like this 'mandatory' (by making it appear 'free', as in you're going to pay for it anyways) makes an incentive to start using it(because it's there anyways and you don't have a choice of paying for it or not, so you end up using it to boost up your biz or life.).

      maybe his trying to boost up it knowhow on it and make the city more competitive against other cities for businesses too.

    • by AndroidCat (229562) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:48AM (#10613974) Homepage
      What kind of access controls will there be? Can any kind of abuser (spam, DDoS, port-scan, trojaned zombie, etc) keep connecting if (ever) disconnected? Will they block some ports like 25? What if someone sucks down most of the bandwidth in the neighbourhood? Can I run servers with dynamic DNS? Who do I report a DDoS from SF space to?

      If they don't manage it, the rest of the Internet might just throw the San Francisco wireless IP range into a "blackhole at the firewall" list in self-defence. And if SF taxpayers can't connect to anyone, who do they call at "SanFran Tech Support" to complain?

    • by k98sven (324383) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:57AM (#10613998) Journal
      It's infrastructure. You could say the same thing about highways too.

      It's very, very difficult to calculate the benefits of this, and really of any infrastructure investment.
      (as far as I understand, there are no good models for this. Building roads is still mostly a political decision.)

      But there are lots of things which conciveably balance the costs, most notably increased business productivity, competition and growth, and increased property value (which generates returns though property tax).

      So, yeah, it's political.. but it doesn't automatically mean it's not economically justified. But whether it is or not is pure speculation. There's no way to tell in the short run.
    • by autarkeia (152712) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:58AM (#10614006) Homepage

      The mayor is *not* trying to get re-elected. The mayor, in fact, is only in the first year of his 4-year term, and by just about any San Franciscan's account he has done nothing but kicked ass and mopped up the streets afterwards. He has completely revamped the budget, took a voluntary pay cut, reorganized the police and fire departments, cracked down on unsolved murders and crime, led the nation on human rights and gay marriage issues, and tackled San Francisco's biggest issue-- homelessness-- with a multidisciplinary team that seems to actually be working.

      Say whatever you want to about Gavin Newsom, but he has been a major boon to San Francisco at a time when it's down. The WiFi thing of course could cost a lot of money, but imagine the potential benefits of pervasive, citywide, free access.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I know it's OT, but go look at news.google.com. "Spitzer's iron wrist shits to music industry" is one of the headlines under entertainment. There's an article about the San Fran Mayor on there too btw.
  • Stop Now (Score:2, Interesting)

    "We will not stop until every San Franciscan has access to free wireless Internet service,"

    "He said the city had already made free WiFi service available at Union Square, a central shopping and tourist hub"

    So, everyone run down to the chopping center and get your free wifi. Problem solved.
    • So, everyone run down to the chopping center and get your free wifi. Problem solved.
      Yeah, I imagine a lot of people running down to the chopping center would solve a lot of problems in San Fransisco, not just the need for wireless access points...:P
    • Re:Stop Now (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bergwitz (702715)
      "We will not stop until every San Franciscan has access to free wireless Internet service," Doesn't that also imply that they need a device to access the free wireless internet service? Like a computer or PDA. Free PDAs for the homeless? Off course, wireless is the only alternative for the homeless.
  • COOL! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ferrellcat (691126) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:14AM (#10613861)
    I guess that means that THIS guy will finally get online! http://www.dkrupa.com/comics/28.jpg [dkrupa.com]
  • Just one question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:21AM (#10613877) Homepage
    How many spammers live in San Francisco? How many will move there?
    • Damn! Good point! Forgot we need to scrap any plan that in might some way increase spam! Phew!
    • Re:Just one question (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vwjeff (709903)
      How many spammers live in San Francisco? How many will move there?

      Great question and I have more.

      1. What are the restrictions on the internet access? (Bandwidth limits, censorship, ect.)

      2. What will be the final cost to taxpayers?

      3. How will this "free" service affect the local broadband providers?

      Now for the rant.

      Call me paranoid but I don't trust internet access provided by the government. 1984 would always be in the back of my mind when I am looking for information (pron) on the internet.

      No
  • ahhhhhhh (Score:3, Funny)

    by DeathByDuke (823199) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:24AM (#10613884)
    let's go warflying dudes.
  • by bryanp (160522) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:25AM (#10613888)
    He's got the circuses part covered. Where's the bread?
  • by N3koFever (777608) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:30AM (#10613908)
    ...does the population of San Francisco get sued?
  • Anti-competitive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spykk (823586) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:33AM (#10613922)
    I wonder what the local ISPs think about this. If it's wrong for microsoft to include a free web browser, is it wrong for the government to provide free internet access?
    • Is it anti-competitive for the government to provide free road access?

      And what is the difference between offering free infrastructure and offering free infrastructure?

      The great deal with free infrastructure is that it is a lot cheaper to build, since you do not need all the tolls and accounting. In this respect wireless internet resemples city-streets more than it resemples highways which are easily tolled.
    • What is this "local ISP" you speak of?

      It's SBC or Comcast for broadband.
  • WiGLE! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperQ (431) * on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:34AM (#10613928) Homepage
    of course, the BEST place to find AP's is WiGLE.net, the database has listings for 1,847,784 APs.
  • by humanerror (56316) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:36AM (#10613935)

    We already have a decent, FREE, and fast wireless network in The City: SFLan.org [archive.org].

    Do you really want to be bound by the government's TOS, for a service "sold" as free that you are in fact paying for, whether you use it or not?

    Of course, using public money for questionable ends is nothing new... but dear Gavin already invests far too much of our money waging war on the poor (no, not on poverty... on the poor).

  • by jmcmunn (307798) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:43AM (#10613955)
    I have never been to San Fran myself, but my dad has on numerous occasions. And from his stories, the terrain in SF is "pretty hilly" to say the least. I have had problems at home with my wireless sometimes reaching from one floor to another without messing around with the antenae all the time. It seems like they're going to need a heck of a lot of repeaters/ap's for this to work out at all in that terrain.

    Wouldn't it be cheaper just to run hard-wired fiber into every building, and drop off a linksys wireless router to everyone? Probably not really, but it sure seems like it is going to be very difficult to get a good wireless network in that terrain.

    is there an election coming up in SF that this guy is trying to get votes for?
  • by toupsie (88295) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:44AM (#10613958) Homepage
    1) Someone has to pay for it. It will be a freebie to certain voting blocks and a huge cost to others. If you are net tax contributor to the coffers of San Francisco, leave now!
    2) This will be a freebie to the criminal elements of San Francisco and a huge cost to the law abiding, non-ubergeek. Consider yourself "pwned".
    3) Expect this project to cost 10x what it is initially claimed. Gavin Newsom has a lot of paybacks for getting himself into power in San Francisco. Cost overruns will be massive.
    4) This is best suited by corporation competition not government largess. Do we really want municipal Ma Bells all over the country?

    If you want to do this on the cheap, make the homeless wear waypoint hats for their welfare checks. (insert joke about the waypoints keeping the government satellite signals out of their heads).

  • Free internet ???? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mritunjai (518932) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:51AM (#10613981) Homepage
    Does everybody in SF already has free medical facilities ? Free shelter ?
    • Does everybody in SF already has free medical facilities ? Free shelter ?

      There are so many posts like the parent under this article that I started wondering - when did Slashdot stop being a geek site and become a political whining ground?
      When I read articles like this, the primary instinct in me is to say: 'hey, this is so cool, I wish I lived in SF' because I'm a geek first and foremost. And on the prime geek web site of the world, I would expect the discussion to be about the technical aspects of the so
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:03AM (#10614021) Homepage Journal
    There is nothing that the government does/offers that is 'free'.

    You have paid for service via your tax dollars..

    And until politicians stop treating our money as such, the waste and over taxation will continue.
    • But the marginal cost of each added node is miniscule. The cost of setting up a city-wide LAN is far, far less than the cost of each of the 800,000 San Franciscans each getting wireless service. Or even, I daresay, less than the cost of 80,000 San Franciscans. That's the way infrastructure works. Do you want to have to pay, personally, for every square inch of road you drive over?
      • Its not the laws of economics that I have a problem with.

        I realize that we all have a 'shared responsibly', and have no trouble with that.

        The trouble I have is with the cavalier attitude the government in general has with our money. Its not theirs, its OURS.. and they should act responsibility.

        Throwing around the word 'free', is indicative of the larger problem... not the specific subject at hand.
    • > What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear
      >arms, shall not be infringed" do you not understand

      If you are going to quote the second ammendment, you may want to quote the whole thing:

      A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      I am neither for nor against any particular interpretation of the second ammendment, but for many years I thought that it ensured specifically the part that y

      • Instead of doing it here, and be OT, check out my journal explaining what the militia is, and why my paraphrasing doesn't change the amendment's intent at all. It serves to express the actual right that is guranteed, and to cause people to think...

        I do agree, veering back on topic, that in time all internet access will end up being a governmental subsidized/regulated public utility.. But that point hasn't arrived .. yet..
  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew.zhrodague@net> on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:03AM (#10614022) Homepage Journal
    Another site listing Wi-Fi is WiFiMaps.com [wifimaps.com]. This covers mainly the US, and data is updated by our users who upload their wardriving scans.

  • While many people today view their personal networks as private things that must be guarded, many people are today starting to view wireless access points as public goods instead of something that needs to be protected.

    A free everywhere wireless network is quite possible. I've heard quote a few people say things like "Well, if my ISP goes down it's OK, I got two neighbours who also have their networks open". Opening your network to everyone is not unsafe or a bad idea, it's a question of overall security
    • Allowing ANYONE who happen to be behind your firewall access to a service is stupid. The right thing to do is to secure the service with passwords regardless of who or what uses it. Viewing all networks as public and securing properly according to this is much better than the old firewall approach.

      Nice thought. Except the Internet is currently populated by significant numbers of people that want to either (a) steal anything they can lay their hands on or (b) cause as much damage and chaos as possible.

      The

      • Passwords? What century are you living in? If you have high speed 24x7 access to a network how long is it really going to take to run through a 16 character password guesser? A month, maybe. Then you are owned.

        Even if you limit it to passwords with exactly 16 lowercase alphabetic characters, that's (26^16)/(30*24*60*60), or over 16.8 quadrillion, passwords per second. Somehow I think the guessing would be just a bit slower than that (not to mention the fact that I'd probably notice the blinking LEDs indic

  • Just like Berkeley. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kenja (541830) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:37AM (#10614134)
    I'm going to file this under the same heading as the "sunshine for the masses" law that Berkeley has on the books. Living in the bay area is a strange experiance indeed.
  • by douglips (513461) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @10:38AM (#10614140) Homepage Journal
    All the links in the story end in ".nyud.net:8090", in an attempt to use Coral. The problem is, that is appended after everything else, which makes it irrelevant.

    Remember, its:
    http://hostname.com.nyud.net:8090/rest/of/ur i?what ever
    not
    http://hostname.com/rest/of/uri?whateve r.nyud.net: 8090

    Strangely enough, in this case all the links seem to work faster than their coral counterparts.

    Fixed coral links:
    Reuters story [nyud.net]
    NodeDB [nyud.net]
    cheesebikini [nyud.net]
  • What are the odds our illustrious Mayor , Comrade Ken , will offer this or something similar to bribe Londoners to support the olympic bid.

    I think Londoners dont want to pay extra council taxes for the next 8 years for the priviledge of providing Samsung ,Coca Cola et al with an advertising podium.

  • by Artifakt (700173) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @11:26AM (#10614345)
    ... is the real alternative sucks.
    Citys aren't doing this to squeeze out private companys that want to offer service to everyone.
    Cities aren't even competing with companies that want to offer service to everyone making above 30,000 $ a year, or to neigherborhoods where everyone owns their home.
    Cities are looking at getting into providing access because the companies in their areas are generally targeting the top 5% of the market only. They are tired of dealing with companies that want to wire broadband only to people making 200,000 $ a year plus, and living in sufficiently large groups of interested users.
    My city dropped plans to create a utilities model wireless service when the local Bell brought in a multi-tiered ADSL system that swiftly ended up competeing with local cable internet. Before that, we'd seen such problems as a small high speed provider that wanted to connect up just a few new streets, only to see the economic downturn hit, the local developers put off building houses on those streets, and their investmwent go down the toilet.
    While I'm qute happy that we have some competitive interest in this area and didn't end up setting up a new local utility, we waited about 4 years for the situation to resolve itself. 4 years of businesses that weren't interested in profit margens of less than 15%, and didn't recognize when they were taking bigger risks by cherry-picking than they would have by trying to provide service to the majority.
  • That you put the government in the control of the flow of information when you let them provide you with Internet access?

    Is everyone ignoring China and what's happening there?
  • Gosh, FREE!!! wireless Internet access?

    So nobody is paying for it?

    So the routers, APs, switches, and bandwidth is all just going to appear ex nihilo (out of nothing) to San Francisco? Out of the ether?

    I don't think that's what is meant by the term "ethernet"...
  • Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nicktripp (717517)
    Something tells me that monitoring the Internet activities of the citizens of San Fransisco is about to get a lot easier. Who needs Echelon when the government can route all traffic through it's own system by giving away the access for free?
  • Well, at least not in my city, please. It sounds cool at first, but there is no such thing as "free."

    This is going to end up costing all the taxpayers of the city millions more than originally speculated. Many may not use it.

    It will also be wonderfully "regulated" by the city government and used to spy on the taxpayers who are paying for it.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @02:43PM (#10615323)
    fact that microwave cell technology impairs brain function and has simply decided not to care.

    There is a REASON governments want entire population bases bathed in specific types of EM radiation.

    You stupid fucks.

    I'm almost looking forward to watching you all get liquidated as the temperature continues to rise. Have you all had your mercury-laced flu shots yet? Perhaps you ought to eat another carb and sugar-rich blitz of fast food and wash it down with a refreshing diet soda complete with brain melting sweeteners. Heck, just settle down in front of your CRT's tuned to hypnotically open your minds for the insertion of socially damaging messages! --You know, to enhance your ability to think (vote) clearly.

    MAN, I'm feeling grouchy today! I've really been noticing recently the millions of morons out there molding reality with their thoughtless actions, and it's annoying the PISS out of me.

    The Christian Right, under Bush, WANTS the apocalypse to come. This is why they want all the Jews in Israel and all the Moslems out and they are giving them 10 billion bucks a year to help make it happen. Bush is a fucking born again right wing Christian lunatic, and this is not a joke.

    But yeah, wireless sure is 'cool' man. Hope my city installs a fucking microwave tower every three hundred meters and that all my neighbors install microwave generators in every nook and cranny so that I cannot escape being exposed to the mass brain-dulling even when I choose not to participate in the wonders of technology.

    When you are gurgling in painful death throws under the heel of the impending police state, I hope you'll remember my bitching and feel appropriately stupid.


    -FL

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.

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