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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has been a supporter of citywide WiFi  (Source: SFGov)
When, oh, when will San Francisco get citywide WiFi?!

Is the city of San Francisco finally going to get that long-awaited wireless Internet?  It has been talked about quite a bit over the past few months, but residents and visitors of the city have not seen anything definite.  During an election that will take place in November, San Francisco residents will finally get their say as to whether or not the city gets free WiFi access.

To accompany the free WiFi service, a ~$20 paid service will offer Internet browsing speeds up to four times faster than what the average schmuck will hopefully one day be able to use.

San Francisco techies have petitioned and campaigned for citywide WiFi for years, with lots of promises that haven't truly amounted to anything.  Openly supported by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for the first time in 2004, the interesting tandem of Google and EarthLink was chosen to provide the wireless Internet.  Now, however, people in the City are still waiting for the Internet service to come around - and it is quite possible the service may never come.

A number of reasons have been given as to why this is taking so long -- privacy issues, Internet browsing speeds and contractual issues are just a few.

Even though voter approval in November wouldn't guarantee 100 percent that the network system would be built, the extra pressure on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will fold under the building pressure.  However, the board has a meeting in September, so it's possible the whole thing can be rejected before it gets in the hands of the voters.

As someone who visits San Francisco at least once or twice per week, I am very much looking forward to using WiFi while sitting near the waterfront.  For people already visiting the Bay Area, finding Internet in San Francisco is far from difficult - walk a couple of blocks and you should be able to find an open connection.  But having a reliable and consistent connection will be amazing!



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