Today, Google and Earthlink became part of the Wi-Fi projects which would provide the city of San Fransisco with both free and paid Wi-Fi services. The approval on the matter was passed on by the San Francisco's Department of Telecommunications and Information Services (DTIS). The discussion on the matter took place for six long weeks, after which it was concluded that final negotiations with the two companies will start soon, and will be working together to construct the $15 million TechConnect Wi-Fi network.
The Executive Director of DTIS, Chris Vein stated that “San Francisco has undertaken a thorough, innovative, and transparent process to reach an audacious goal: free wifi for our residents.” He also concluded further that “By undertaking two competitive processes, we asked the citizens of San Francisco what they thought we should do and we asked the best and brightest technical minds what they thought we should do. Today’s announcement will take us one step closer to making universal and affordable broadband a reality.”
However, the Wi-Fi project of San Francisco got six different proposals which were reviewed by a panel comprised of city employees and a consulting firm. Communication Bridge Global, NextWLAN, Razortooth Communicartions LLP, are some of the finalists that passed over by the city, with MetroFi and SF Metro Connect, a partnership that includes SeaKay, Cisco Systems Inc. and IBM Corp. A free wireless internet access would be supplied by Google’s part of the Wi-Fi project.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Google’s interest came as a surprise to many because the company’s primary focus is as a search engine; it’s the nation’s leader. Google executives have said that they consider the project an experiment for testing online advertising based on where a user is located. Some have speculated that this could be a seed for a national Google Wi-Fi network, though Google has said it currently has no plans to do so.
It is stated that Earthlink will be focusing on the more powerful, advertising free paid version of the Wi-Fi system, which will cost users $20 per month. I guess that's a great deal to be worked upon.