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Details on San Francisco's Free Wifi 80

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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  • Re:Wifi (Score:3, Insightful)

    by norkakn ( 102380 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @02:53AM (#17485866)
    *disclaimer: I had a pitcher of beer and a bottle of wine*

    The internet means more to 'low income' folks than to us in a lot of ways. It's a way to stay in touch with friends without physical addresses or access fees.
  • by tloh ( 451585 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @03:30AM (#17486034)
    Heh, Why bother "happening" to be in the city at all? Point your Pringle yagi antenna []- powered wireless connection west across the bay and be a proud San Franciscan from the comfort of your own home. If I needed to, I know I would. But seriously, I'm wondering 2 things:

    How tamper proof are they actually going to make this thing? If the policy is libral/versatile/friendly enough, they probably won't face *too* much circumvention attempts. But there will inevitably be a few bad apples intent upon being a pain in the ass for the service providers and ruin it to varying degrees for the rest of us.

    What does this mean for the community run free wireless groups already operating in SF? With the uniqueness and value of their efforts decreased, will they fold and cease to exist? Would that loss of diversity and choice be harmful? Have the leaders/organizers of the project(s) come out with public statements regarding the deployment?
  • Re:Wifi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fiddlesticks ( 457600 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @04:19AM (#17486244) Homepage
    "if your family is "low-income" by the conventional measure (poverty line) you probably shouldn't be spending money on wi-fi"

    Care to share with us anything else that you think people on low incomes shouldn't be spending money on?

    Books? Holidays? Clothes?

    On the other hand, perhaps subsidising people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to go online is a good thing. Maybe that way they'll, you know, learn stuff/ get jobs/ have fun - all the things everyone else uses the Net for.

    Oh, right, this is /. The market will take care of it, riiiight?
  • by Belgand ( 14099 ) <> on Saturday January 06, 2007 @04:23AM (#17486250) Homepage
    Personally I see the appeal, but it feels like this service will only be used in two ways: 1)people who want to use it to get online while wandering around town or to provide connectivity for ultra-portable devices (e.g. PDAs, DS, etc.) 2)low-income Internet availability. From the way I've heard it pushed (I haven't been to any of the community meetings so this is mainly what I've read online and in the Guardian) this is exactly the way they've been trying to sell it. Bleeding-hearts can claim that they're helping the poor get online while the rest of us will still pay for broadband at home and use it occasionally rather than paying some jackass coffee house to get access. Seriously, why do I almost only find places that want to charge me to get online? Hell, when I was in college elsewhere the local pizza place and a bunch of bars had wifi for free... it was just a smart move on behalf of businesses to spend $40 a month on broadband and install an access point just to grab extra business.
  • Re:Low Income (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @06:02AM (#17486536)
    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.

    That's right, they should be spending it on Slim Jims, beer and lottery tickets, like the good old days.

    We'll have none of this tapping into a world of information, education, free software, looking for work, looking for a better place to live, access to cheap delivered goods instead of being stuck getting everything from the low income neighborhood ripoff joint, effective communication with each other across town or across the globe without having to support a landline/cell contract, etc. Think of the children, man!

    Especially at a lower cost than what they're paying now for inferior service. Jeeeezus Christ, where's the economic sense in that? Do you know what will happen to the nation's economy if the mass of low income people start being incited to buy things because they cost less?

    It'll collapse, that's what it'll do. We depend on them to buy Kellog's Frosted Flakes instead of Corn Meal and sugar, Microsoft Windows instead of downloading Ubuntu, emergency room visits for flu instead of a reasonably priced GP down the block, blockbuster movies instead of community theater.

    Just who do they think they are determining their own priorities anyway? The whole point of having low income people around is so that higher income people can tell them how they should be living, innit? Next thing ya know they'll start thinking they might like an afternoon at the art museum or something. We'd have to rub shoulders with them or something if we allowed that sort of thing; when they should be putting in that sixteenth hour at work, dammit. They obviously need the three bucks.

    No, the purpose of low income people is to pick oranges/cotton to provide tax dollars to provide museums and ubiquitous WiFi for high income people.

    Fucking peasants are revolting.

    Next week if you're not careful.

  • Re:Low Income (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @01:26PM (#17488908) Homepage Journal
    Now could the economists here (armchair or otherwise) explain to me how this condition doesn't collapse, especially when it's driven in part by the technology industry, which has far fewer reasons to physically locate anywhere in particular? Considering that the rest of the world-- the rest of the country, even-- is paying far less wage for the same amount of living, how does the inflated wage/price leapfrog continue, yet still manage to survive within the greater saner, more reasonably-priced world?

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.