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Details on San Francisco's Free Wifi 80

Posted by Zonk
from the both-the-wi-and-the-fi-are-free dept.
FrenchSilk writes to mention that the San Francisco Chronicle has more details on the previously discussed Earthlink/Google municipal wifi project. The paper confirms that free access will be free to everyone, with higher bandwidth and more reliable tiers also available. The article touches on a number of related subjects, such as security, reliability, and privacy. From the article: "Recognizing the concerns expressed by electronic privacy advocates and community members, the City has negotiated an Agreement that addresses the privacy needs of our residents, negotiating terms stronger than any other City and incorporating protections that go far beyond what federal, state or local law requires. EarthLink and the provider of the free service will be required to fully disclose their privacy policy. This ensures that all users are aware of the privacy policies."
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Details on San Francisco's Free Wifi

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  • Wifi (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoshJ (1009085) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @02:28AM (#17485722) Journal
    But does it run on Linux? All joking aside, the service seems pretty decent for a free service (300 Kbps), although $21.95 for a 1 Mbps service is a bit under the norm, but possibly a better deal than whatever internet providers exist in SF now- especially considering the mobility of it. The $12.95 discount for low-income residents makes me go "WTF" though- if your family is "low-income" by the conventional measure (poverty line) you probably shouldn't be spending money on wi-fi. I detect political hijinks. I wonder how the service is going to know whether each person is "free" or "paid", and how long it'll be before that gets hacked.
    I do like the following things, though: Network neutrality. The City has required that EarthLink adhere to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) principles of internet freedom to address any potential for abuse of consumers or retail service providers. Non exclusivity: The agreement provides access to the City's right of way and facilities on a competitively neutral and non discriminatory basis. Nothing will prevent additional Wi-Fi providers from deploying similar networks should they desire to do so. Open Access: The agreement ensures that all internet service providers, including our local businesses, nonprofits and other organizations, will be able to provide commercial services without fear of a local monopoly. The City is not granting an exclusive franchise; rather, the City has negotiated an Agreement that provides the foundation for competition.
  • Privacy "agreement" (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 06, 2007 @02:38AM (#17485786)
    EarthLink will not share protected personal information (such as name, address, phone number, financial and medical profiles, and credit card information) without the consent of the user, except in the following cases:

    To third party suppliers, provided that users may opt out of receiving marketing communications.

    To law enforcement with court-ordered documentation for a criminal or national security investigation

    In response to a civil legal demand, but only after reasonable prior notice to the user.

    EarthLink shall provide Subscribers an opportunity to opt out of EarthLink's use of location information (i.e., information about the location of the user's computer or other device that is accessing the network) EarthLink shall retain Location Information no longer than 60 days.

    Sign-in to the free service will require only minimal information, mainly for the purpose of protecting the network from abuse by "robot software" and other malicious programs.


    Read carefully folks!
  • Re:Wifi (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 06, 2007 @03:16AM (#17485986)
    Actually $21.95 is for symmetric 1Mbps. It's quite unusual to pay that little for 1Mpbs upload capacity, at least around SF.

    Of course, these are early reports, so I'll believe that when I see it.

    As far as the system knowing whether you've paid, that'll probably work much like it does at Starbucks or wherever. The difference here is that your credentials will be used to adjust some rate-limiting on a router somewhere I guess.
  • Re:Low Income (Score:2, Informative)

    by aslvrstn (1047588) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @03:29AM (#17486030)
    At the same time, salaries are proportionately raised. Job offers at Google's HQ in CA pays a good $30-$40k more than their new Pittsburgh, PA office. It may not be the best sample points, but I have friends whose parents each make solid 6 figures in CA and live at about the same level that I do with one parent making minimal six-figures in PA. I do still agree though, if people really are living with relatively low incomes, whatever that may be, they shouldn't be spending it on increasing their internet experience, nor should they be incited to by the lower cost.
  • by FrenchSilk (847696) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @03:42AM (#17486090)
    Did you RTFA? "A 300 Kbps free tier of service for use by all residents, businesses and visitors. This 300 Kbps tier is adequate for most basic Internet tasks such as web, email and even VoIP."
  • Re:Low Income (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @10:45AM (#17487506) Journal
    Is it really? It works out at £4.697 at today's exchange rate, while the minimum wage here is £5.35/hour, or $10.41/hour. Cost of living here (Wales) is a lot lower than California too...
  • Re:Low Income (Score:2, Informative)

    by Belgand (14099) <belgand AT planetfortress DOT com> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @12:13AM (#17494460) Homepage
    I know it's high. I'm paying $1200 on a 1 bedroom apartment (a basement place about a block from the Daly City BART, but just barely within city limits) shared with my girlfriend. For comparisons I was paying about $600 for a larger two bedroom apartment in a well-managed complex with in-unit washer/dryer, dishwasher, included cable TV, and pool before moving. That was in a small, college town in Kansas (Manhattan, KS to be exact) though where that was at the high end of the scale.

    At the same time though I've found that the majority of other basic living expenses (e.g. food) tend to be roughly equivalent to what I was paying previously. I've only lived here for a few months and while things are more expensive in general, in my experience most basic services are only slightly higher if at all.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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