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Wireless Networking Businesses Google The Internet Hardware

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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  • Clarification (Score:4, Interesting)

    by goldspider ( 445116 ) <.ardrake79. .at.> on Saturday January 06, 2007 @02:29AM (#17485730) Homepage
    When you say "free", do you mean:

    1. Free as in beer.
    2. Free as in speech.
    3. Free as in taxpayer-subsidized?
  • Re:Clarification (Score:4, Interesting)

    by supervillainsf ( 820395 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @02:43AM (#17485812)
    I guess you didn't rtfa. Here is the relevant info:

    Fees paid to the City:
    $600,000 in guaranteed payments for access to the City's right of way.
    An estimated $40,000 per year for the use of City facilities (street light poles);
    A 5% share of all gross access revenues, estimated to generate $300,000 per year, depending on paying subscriber uptake. These funds may be used to fund computer and other equipment, training and self-help programs and community relevant content development.

    So I guess the answer is free as in Earthlink thinks that between advertising and subscribers to the 1Mbps tier, the service will produce enough profit to far out weigh the costs. And, if it doesn't, i'm sure Earthlink will find some way around the privacy clause and start selling personal info on top of the huge amount of marketing that we are bound to put up with for access.
  • by namityadav ( 989838 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @02:54AM (#17485868)
    If I remember correctly, Google will manage the free 300-kilobits-per-second Wi-Fi service, EarthLink will offer the faster premium service (1mbps and above), and Motorola and Tropos will provide the hardware / software for the mesh with the wireless service running at 2.4GHz and the mesh backbone at 5.8GHz
  • VOIP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by popo ( 107611 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @04:41AM (#17486292) Homepage
    So, when do the telecom companies start bribing city officials to kill this project?
    Free citywide Wifi would seem to me to be a deathblow for anyone currently selling
    dialtone. Won't everyone just start using VOIP?

    And just wait until VOIP enabled mobile handsets become commonplace...
  • It's sad. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by lzmbr ( 906441 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @05:02AM (#17486336)

    This 300 Kbps tier is adequate for most basic Internet tasks such as web, email and even VoIP

    And here am I, in the third world, stuck with a 300k ADSL while paying a fortune for it.

    Sometimes it's quite depressing to read Slashdot, you guys have high definition TVs, next-gen consoles, fast broadband services and free Wifi, while in this part of the world it's either not avaliable or too expensive. The Wii, for example, costs more than the equivalent of 1000 USD here.

    Perhaps Google has any plans to extend this project worldwide? :)
  • Re:It's sad. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DECS ( 891519 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @05:40AM (#17486450) Homepage Journal
    Sorry your ADSL is expensive.

    I pay $1100 a month to share a basic 2 BR flat in SF, and going out to eat somewhere basic typically costs $20/person unless drinks are involved. If my motorcycle gets ticketed for being parked on the sidewalk, it's $100. People commonly pay $200 a month for a garage, or being careful, you can park on the street and pay the inevitable $250 in tickets every quarter.

    WiFi won't be free in SF until the City approves the plan and it actually gets built. While the plan drags along, I pay $50/ month for 1.5 Mbit ADSL.

    When I go on vacation, my biggest expense is paying my rent while I'm away, but it's almost worth it to be able to come home from vacation and know I'm still somewhere people travel to visit. Oh, by the way, it's fairly expensive to be a tourist here, too. []
  • Re:It's sad. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @09:34AM (#17487166) Journal
    Fear not, all of these 15M/2M FTTP guys on /. are in the cherry picked areas of the country. Most of the US is still on dialup. I define most as "more than 50% of landmass," and I'd bet a dollar that it's closer to 70-80% of landmass, but I'm not going to try and look it up.

    Until just two years ago, I was ten miles from a major university with several GB/s of bandwidth (may be tens of GB, for all I know) and when I called the local telco and cableco inquiring about "high speed internet" they were excited to tell me that they had high speed internet - they'd just upgraded more than half of their modem pool to 56kb! By the time I left there, they had a 768/128kb ADSL that I badgered them into extending to my house (about 20,000 ft from the CO), where I got 680/65kb. And a bargain at $45/mo. Note that this is not some university in the middle of nowhere, as we're less than 250 miles from Washington, D.C. Now I'm "in town" and can get better DSL, or cable if I don't mind being down for 10-15% of the time (fuck you Adephia). Ten years ago they were all going to have 10bT to the houses thanks to the University, but I can only guess that Adelphia and Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) squashed that pretty quickly.

  • Re:It's sad. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alphafoo ( 319930 ) <> on Saturday January 06, 2007 @06:58PM (#17492048) Homepage
    Funny this should come up today. I have been without my ADSL here in SF for nearly a week now, and in fact have not even had dial tone for two days. So the $50/month has felt even more expensive than usual. In fact, I just got down from the roof, where I was hanging out with the ATT/PacBell/Yahoo/YouNameIt tech. He told me it was my lucky day--- he was going to replace the dry-rotted wiring with wire that would conduct a signal, thus re-establishing my dial-tone and my DSL. I asked him why it was lucky that he was replacing the wire, when it seemed to be his job to do just that sort of thing. He said that I am responsible for the wire because it's inside wiring. I mentioned that the wire on the roof was coming in from the street and was quite outside, where it either baked in the sun or sat in a puddle when it rained. He assured me that this was considered inside wire, and not the telco's problem. But what a fun week I've had with tech support.

    Tech Support: Hi, what's the problem, sir?
    Me: There seems to be a line issue. I can ping my ADSL router but can't ping outside that. The sync light also indicates a line issue.
    TS: Yes, sir. I can help you with that. Are you using a Mac or Windows?
    Me: Um. Mac.
    TS: Sir, all our Mac representatives are busy. Try calling back tomorrow.
    Me: WAIT! No! You see, I think the problem is independent of the computer I am using.
    TS: I am happy to help you, sir. What browser are you using?
    Me: Um. Firefox.
    TS: Well sir, as I mentioned, all our Mac representatives are busy. Try calling back tomorrow.
    Me: Wait...ah...I might actually be using a Windows machine. Computers are hard. Now what?
    TS: Oh, in that case we need to determine which version of Windows you are running....
    Me: Wait, stop. Can you see my router from where you are?
    TS: {pause} No sir, there is no signal at all on the line.
    Me: Ok, so can you imagine a situation where my browser or my computer would have any effect on the actual phone line?
    TS: Sir, I would be happy to help you, but you see, all our Mac representatives are busy.

    and so on...

    Google, please hurry!

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry