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Gavin Newsom continues to be a strong supporter of citywide WiFi  (Source: Official Gavin Newsom web site)
Earthlink crumbles, and with it the plans of must urban municipal WiFi

As EarthLink continues in a rather nasty downward spiral, the likelihood of seeing citywide WiFi in San Francisco does not really look promising. 

EarthLink's self destruction
didn't initially concern metropolitan residents much, but the company's part in the WiFi deal was important -- Google would offer a slower service, with EarthLink offering increased speeds for a low payment per month.

Residents cheered when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom envisioned free citywide WiFi for residents and visitors of San Francisco a couple of years ago.  But now the mayor must continue searching for other companies which originally showed interest in offering WiFi to the city.

Even though it's not difficult to find WiFi hot spots in San Francisco, the ability of having WiFi everywhere in the City would be superb.  The San Francisco Metreon, located a block away from Market Street, there are at least 15 active WiFi access points.  A quick visit to the heart of. Financial District also revealed a large number of WiFi points that a user with a notebook or smart phone can use.  However, a trip down to Fisherman's Wharf will reveal only a couple of access points.

EarthLink's faulty business plan cost the company a $5 million penalty after failing to come up with a wireless network for the city of Houston.  EarthLink now has until June next year to either start building the network or find a way to sneak out of the contract with Houston. 

The company also had to bow out of a deal with Chicago.  The city originally intended to provide infrastructure to AT&T or Earthlink for city-wide access, but negotiations fell apart when neither company could settle terms on cash for the project.

Earthlink's largest other muncipal WiFi plans have not panned out in any significant manner yet.  The Earthlink Lompoc, California, project cost the company $3 million but netted less than 500 users at last count.  The company's Anaheim and Philadelphia networks are still under construction.

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RE: Public Wi-Fi = Waste of Taxpayer Dollars
By Kuroyama on 9/3/2007 1:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
Please re-read my comment. I was under the impression that this would SAVE money for the government, and not involve any new taxes. So my question is, IF this would save money for the government then where is the problem with them guaranteeing a large purchase (but at a lower cost than their current services) to the PRIVATE company chosen to set up citywide wi-fi. And before anyone says the gov't should not be picking the winners, I'd like a list of the MAJOR metropolitan areas that already have citywide wi-fi, i.e. I don't believe this will come into existence without the local gov't picking a single company to promote (one of these days the cell phone companies will get reasonably priced high speed internet, but hasn't happened yet).

By Oregonian2 on 9/4/2007 3:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
Portland's(Oregon) city-wide WiFi system is about a quarter done and by contract is supposed to be finished about this time next year. There's a lot of complaints about coverage, especially indoors -- although those who do get connections seem to get very fast connections. And it's free to users (with an advertising banner, removable by paying for service). Usage has been fairly high and expectation is that advertising revenue will be more than enough to sustain the system when finished (but probably not giving the builders the return on investment wanted).

It's also free to the City. City only "paid" right of way rights for the private company building it -- no money out of the taxpayer's pocket at all. Putting more computers into libraries would be MORE expensive than nothing. :-)

Because of the inconsistent coverage in areas already built out there's been strong criticism of the system (although because it's "free" to users, I'm not sure the strength of the podium those critical are standing on -- other than venting disappointment in comparison to expectations). If they changed it out for 'N' Wifi, that'd probably fix the coverage problem but I can't see the upgrade happening. :-)

By rsmech on 9/5/2007 1:07:13 AM , Rating: 2
I was under the impression that this would SAVE money for the government, and not involve any new taxes

When has the gov't been interested in saving my money? The fastest way to spend money is to let the gov't save it for you.

Not an attack against you personally, but the gov't can't save. To them saving means spending more money instead of a hell of a lot of money.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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