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San Jose Plan Reintroduces Large-Scale Municipal Wi-Fi Coverage

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the they-should-just-use-the-cloud dept.

Wireless Networking 61

alphadogg writes "San Jose is casting a vote of confidence in municipal Wi-Fi from the heart of Silicon Valley, planning a new, free network just a few years after such networks were declared all but dead. The California city of about 1 million intends to offer high-speed Wi-Fi throughout its downtown, covering an area of 1.5 square miles in the middle of this year. But unlike earlier municipal Wi-Fi initiatives, such as a Google-sponsored network that would have covered San Francisco, the San Jose system will be able to pay for itself entirely by helping the government do its job. In the middle of the past decade, ambitious projects in several cities, including parts of San Jose, promised to blanket outdoor areas with Wi-Fi and provide built-in sources of revenue. Home broadband subscriptions, browser-based advertising or small-business use would help to pay for equipment and operations. But those complicated business models depended on assumptions that often proved unfounded."

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61 comments

Don't go to San Jose (2)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338787)

The high density of internet in the air there could microwave your brain and make you nauseous and sweaty. Then you will be unattractive to men.

"Hey, Rocky!" (4, Funny)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338879)

"Watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!"

"But that trick never works!"

"This Time, for sure!!! PRESTO!"

Re:"Hey, Rocky!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39348785)

Sadly that rabbit is going to be interfering with my wifi signals. There's already over 20 connections around where I live and it's a constant battle for the right channel.

Re:"Hey, Rocky!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353211)

Thank you for your reply

http://www.livestreamsportshd.com/

http://www.livestreamsportshd.com/ [livestreamsportshd.com]

The problem hasn't been lack of demand (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338891)

It's been that the big ISP's and cellular companies have fought these municipal initiatives tooth and nail, including suing and getting their legislative slaves to pass laws outlawing them. A quick search [google.com] tells the real story.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338951)

someone has to fight the commies!

and get off of my lawn

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (2)

BMOC (2478408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338977)

That's interesting. I didn't know this. I suppose I should have expected this outcome, but I had no idea it was actually occurring. This is not to different from a railroad shipping company lobbying against a local offramp to an interstate highway to protect their local business. It's one company protecting a business model by essentially paying for laws against a new media.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1)

uncqual (836337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39340231)

a.k.a. Regulatory Capture [wikipedia.org]

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339007)

Those companies should no longer be given monopoly status over local markets. Let them compete for customers amongst one another. (Or else if they are granted monopoly status, they should be strictly regulated like the electricity, water, and natural gas monopolies.)

The article says the Wifi net will cost $22,000 per year to maintain. That sounds too cheap?

the city has been striving for years to get workers to leave their offices and make the district more lively and lucrative for small businesses.

If this plan works, all it does is transfer the workers' spending money from the cafeterias/vending companies inside the offices to the street restaurants. It doesn't create any new wealth or boost to the economy.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339125)

If this plan works, all it does is transfer the workers' spending money from the cafeterias/vending companies inside the offices to the street restaurants. It doesn't create any new wealth or boost to the economy.

By that logic, nothing creates new wealth, it only shifts from one use to another... which is exactly what the GP is claiming: the office workers will start spending money on local businesses, parking, etc. instead of paying to commute and for disgusting cafeteria food. I would imgine the biggest savings (i.e. "wealth creation") would be in not having to rent as much office space for the same workforce.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339059)

Pretty much. I'm shocked to see a new municipal wifi plan being rolled out after what happened to the earlier attempts. Maybe San Jose snuck a clause into their latest franchise contracts that allow them to provide this service without objections.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1)

willpb (1168125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339319)

Where I live we were fortunate enough to get UTOPIA up and running. It has forced the major cable internet providers to lower rates since they can't compete with the speed of fiber.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339619)

Where I live we were fortunate enough to get UTOPIA up and running. It has forced the major cable internet providers to lower rates since they can't compete with the speed of fiber.

A what? Links, please.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39343611)

UTOPIA [wikipedia.org] . Utah's fiber optic network.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39342935)

Yes, but on the down side you have to live in Utah...

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1)

suutar (1860506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39342763)

Hmmm. If this gets shot down, I think a ballot initiative may be in order.

Re:The problem hasn't been lack of demand (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39343229)

While it's true that telcos have fought muni wifi, in San Jose's case, it was specifically the hotels that bitched-- they make mucho bucks from SJ Conv Center and other hotel stays. Free WiFi cuts their margins down significantly. The California Broadband Initiative and the local muni wifi advocates will be happy to point fingers at the roadblockers.

You can add them to the telcos. This is a very local objection, rather than a legislative bribery case; the legislature has its own problems on a California and national level. In this case--> local issues.

I bought an iPad! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338909)

Did you hear? I bought an iPad! AN IPAD!!! Now all the guys at the gay bar will finally notice me! I've also made sure to buy a dozen pairs of skinny jeans and some emo glasses in preparation of receiving it on Friday so I can go straight to Starbucks and show it off! AN IPAD!!! WOOHOO!!

Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping? (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338915)

Just bought my first Wifi modem last week to connect to my hotel's internet. It only streams at 30-40 kilobyte/second (slower than DSL at home) and keeps dropping the connection with a message that says "acquiring network ID". Windows XP reports the signal is "very good" to "excellent".

At this point I'm wondering if I wasted my my money. The Wifi is only good for uTorrent downloads (it doesn't mind the intermittent connection), and my dialup connection is actually more reliable for web browsing, facebook, etc.

Oh and yes I've tried moving the modem around which improved the signal, but not the frequent lost connections. Surely this isn't normal for Wifi?

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338993)

That's because your hotel doesn't have the network required to support the number of users they have. Its a common problem with most hotels.

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339109)

A couple months ago, I stayed in a hotel with satellite internet. I assume it was some sort of deal the chain had with DirecWay that required using the service at every location because nobody in their right mind would be using satellite internet as the primary entartube in an urban setting. It was ridiculously slow and my 4G hotspot tore it to shreds. Heck, 3G would have been faster with lower latency.

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39340419)

Satellite net is usually the same speed as budget Cable internet but with higher latency. In all my previous hotels which provided free internet, they had wired ethernet to all the rooms. It was nice and fast (100 to 200 kilobyte/s).

Maybe I'll try VirginMobile's $50/month plan. Or just stick with dialup ($7) for the facebook/email and let uTorrent handle the hotel's Wifi mess, since it doesn't mind the dropped connections.

 

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339091)

That is 100% normal for hotel Wifi.

Even $250.00 a night Hotel wifi.

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (1)

rsmith84 (2540216) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339193)

Which is why, no matter where I go, I use my smartphone and PDAnet. Much more reliable and in some cases faster. Now I don't do anything of a secure nature over that, but it suits me just fine for fartin' around on the Interwebs.

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339203)

Ahhh two people with the same answer. Thanks. Sounds like a good reason to move to another nearby hotel that has almost no residents (and therefore less sharing of the Wifi). Also it's cheaper.

Also explains why the dialup, with its dedicated phone line, never drops connection. No sharing with anybody else (though 5 KB/s is rather slow).

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339093)

Try using a Linux live CD to see if the software is at fault or if it's a hardware or network problem. Wifi is in the same band as many other RF devices. It cooperates with Bluetooth, but most video transmitters will block or heavily interfere with Wifi signals. Other access points on the same channels can cause interference: The signal level can be as strong as is legally possible, but if the noise is also strong, the connection is going to be crap. SNR (signal to noise ratio) is what matters. Without more information, it's hard to make informed guesses about the reason for your problem. Try eliminating the software as a potential cause first.

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339905)

Just bought my first Wifi modem last week to connect to my hotel's internet.

When I hear "wifi modem", I think of something like this [wikipedia.org] , which no way in hell you'd need that to connect to the hotel's internet connection. Did you actually mean you picked up a router to plug into the wired port in your room so that your various devices can connect to it? Or... just how old is your laptop that it doesn't have a wifi transmitter/receiver built in?

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353311)

A "modem" is what I call a device to connect to online service. It doesn't matter if it's a dialup modem or DSL modem or cable modem or wifi modem.

My laptop is a Pentium 3 but I'm not using it. The Wifi connection I purchased for use with my Pentium 4 desktop that I brought along with me. Looks like this but with a 3 foot USB cord so I can move it around

http://www.bing.com/shopping/zoom-4411-ieee-802-11n-draft-usb-wi-fi-adapter/p/98795B354F5512A5A5CF [bing.com]
   

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354007)

A "modem" is what I call a device to connect to online service.

So you call a router a "modem"? A network hub is a "modem"? What about a NIC card? Is that also a "modem"?

my Pentium 4 desktop that I brought along with me.

You lug a desktop along with you on trips? Isn't that kind of cumbersome?

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39340869)

My laptop had the same problem. We had a high-speed wi-fi modem. Friends laptop ran google street-view superfast. You could virtually run 1 mile through a city street at full-screen within 30 seconds. On the home laptop it was slow and chuggy. Replaced the OS, and the laptop was super-fast again.

Re:Question about WiFi - why does it keep dropping (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39346645)

Also try looking for a Starbucks or McDonald's to test against their wi-fi network, which should eliminate your equipment as a source of the problems. The quality of hotel wifi is all over the map.

Wifi has issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338927)

Much of the work that makes mobile networks usable goes into handover protocols and implementations. Wifi handovers still suck and the problem is compounded by the low range of each Wifi cell. There are proprietary extensions, but if you build a citywide network relying on proprietary stuff, prepare to pay dearly for that decision.

Without seamless handovers, it will be an annoying "now I have access, now I don't, have, don't" toy.

DNW (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338949)

The problem is that they want to offer free-as-in-beer, not free-as-in-speech. After all, if it was libre, someone could use it for nefarious purposes! Think of the children!

As they propose it, it's just cost shifting, and attracting the attention of big service providers who get to sue for anti-competitive behavior.

Re:DNW (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339089)

>>>Think of the children!

Okay.

When the children grow-up, as they will fairly quickly, I'm sure they'd rather live in a society where they are free to speak, create, and express themselves without restriction, rather than live in a world where their ideas are censored by internet police (Obama's ACTA, Bush's DHS, and so on).

Re:DNW (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339177)

When the children grow-up, as they will fairly quickly, I'm sure they'd rather live in a society where they are free to speak, create, and express themselves without restriction, rather than live in a world where their ideas are censored by internet police (Obama's ACTA, Bush's DHS, and so on).

You know that, and I know that, but it won't win the local politicos any votes.

Re:DNW (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339413)

Seems to be working for anti-censorship, anti-ACTA Ron Paul. (He carries 70-80% of the 18-30 year old vote in every election.) Those people will demand freedom of the net as they grow older and become middle age citizens, and they'll be electing politicians who share the same view.

Re:DNW (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39340131)

The problem is that Dr. No is also against laws that protect freedom or gives individuals rights that corporations don't have.
At the same time he doesn't have a problem with states restricting a woman's freedom to not have an unwanted child or a homosexual's freedom to marry.
Also, you have to wonder about the sanity of someone who manages to say that atheism is like using drugs.

tl;dr: old man Paul doesn't endorse "libre" except when it suits his beliefs.

Re:DNW (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39344681)

Also, you have to wonder about the sanity of someone who manages to say that atheism is like using drugs.

I googled and found the video [youtube.com] (see from 4:30 on), and that's not what he said at all. What he said is that, just like him supporting freedom of religion does not mean that he's endorsing atheism, him supporting decriminalization of drugs doesn't mean that he's endorsing drug use. That is called an "analogy". Nowhere he actually says that atheism is like using drugs.

Re:DNW (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353443)

>>>The problem is that Dr. No is also against laws that protect freedom or gives individuals rights that corporations don't have.

No he isn't. If you're referring to the Civil Rights Act of the 1870s and 1960s, he said he would have voted for them even though he disagreed with one section (forcing store owners to serve white racists & other groups they don't like), because overall it was a positive good. Same way he voted to extend the Bush Tax Cuts even though he disagreed with raising tax rates on capital gains.
.

>>>At the same time he doesn't have a problem with states restricting a woman's freedom to not have an unwanted child or a homosexual's freedom to marry.

He's a Constitutionalist and that's what the Constitution says (Amendment 10). The power to legalize these things - abortion, samesex marriage, marijuana - lies with the People and their State legislature. It's right there in black ink.

I guess you don't think we should obey the Constitution or its Bill of Rights or amendments??? That's the kind of thinking that has led us to incrementally lose the 1st, 4th, and 6th amendments (I'm referring to ACTA, SOPA, TSA, DHS, and the NDAA jail time without right to trial). You have to enforce ALL the amendments as written, not just ignore them because you don't like them.

Helping the government != paying for itself (1)

Aquitaine (102097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339231)

Paying for itself means that it will generate revenue proportional to the cost of implementing and maintaining it. For any government program to do this is unusual (and this is not always a criticism -- the government is in the business of governing, and it's unreasonable to assume that every or even many sectors of governing will generate revenue).

But "helping us do our jobs" by having WiFi available everywhere is completely orthagonal to this. Will they be replacing government office networks with free, public Wifi? Of course not. Do you want YOUR SSN and government records floating around the local DMV on a public wireless network?

It's been said that big telcos and other ISPs oppose these kinds of things and that's the chief obstacle. Of course they oppose it: the government offering for free what was previously the province of the marketplace to offer is going to drive out private business, since hardly anyone can afford to compete with the government. "But no private company is offering city-wide Wifi!" you say? Could it be that hardly anyone is willing to pay for these services? Business travelers will have subscriptions to Wifi hotspots using a service like Boingo, but not enough people are going to pay to use Wifi in the park. Some will, sure. Not anywhere near enough to make it worthwhile -- and that's why ISPs don't offer it.

It's conceivable that the small city or town exists where it's cheap enough to roll out something like this and worth it to the locals to fund it such that you could have a successful municipal Wifi service. That would be the exception to the rule. You'd think a bigger city would more easily be able to do it, but bigger cities also have more free wifi spots already available, and regular broadband is generally cheaper and better in an urban area anyway.

Re:Helping the government != paying for itself (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339599)

Do you want YOUR SSN and government records floating around the local DMV on a public wireless network?

Because you think Wifi makes it impossible to use encryption?

Re:Helping the government != paying for itself (1)

Aquitaine (102097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39344427)

Of course not -- but would you honestly advise a government agency trusted with secure data to perform their work that requires that data while connected to a public wifi hotspot, regardless of the encryption used?

Wireless Philadelphia (3, Interesting)

RobCull (1658279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339281)

Here in Philadelphia, free wifi is available almost everywhere in the city. The SSID is something like "Free Wireless Philadelphia" and it has at least fair signal quality almost everywhere I've been (aside from inside some buildings, etc).

However, you can NEVER connect to it. The connection ALWAYS fails. I have never met a single person who was able to connect to it.

After doing some testing, I realized that the problem is their receivers. The transmitters are rather powerful and can be picked up by a laptop/tablet almost anywhere. However, good luck getting your laptop/tablet to transmit strong enough for their systems to even hear you.

Re:Wireless Philadelphia (2)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339723)

Try

iw reg set BO
iwconfig wlan0 rts 256 frag off txpower 1000mW rate 5.5M auto

in linux...

Re:Wireless Philadelphia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39342667)

Or in Windows, drop to a command prompt and:

C:\blowtorch.exe -p=50kW

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Re:Wireless Philadelphia (1)

RobCull (1658279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39344837)

This is the first computing advice I've received on the internet which didn't include mixing ammonia and bleach or deleting system32.

Re:Wireless Philadelphia (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39345905)

You're supposed to do those FIRST...

Re:Wireless Philadelphia (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39345981)

LoL yeah.... It took me awhile to figure out and no one ever seems to mention it so I figured I'd say something. You can change the 5M to 1M for extremely bad connections. Your wireless card might not support 1000mW but most support higher than their default setting. Using a directional antenna helps too..

San Jose trying to promote its downtown, again (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339663)

San Jose is a successful city, but the downtown area is unusually dead. For thirty years, the city has tried various initiatives to "get downtown going". They put in light rail. They built a convention center, a sports stadium, some parks, a plaza, and several museums. They encouraged the building of large office buildings.

It hasn't worked. Several of the big office buildings are empty. There's little retail. The "nightclub district" is a row of boarded up storefronts. It's not run down, or even dirty. Just vacant.

Offering free WiFi in the downtown area can't hurt, and it's cheap.

Re:San Jose trying to promote its downtown, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39340387)

San Jose is still harboring the fantasy that because they have the third largest population in California (behind Los Angeles and San Diego) and for a few years (back around 1850) was the capitol of California they must be a real city. They should give up its aspirations on being a "big city" and work harder on being a "better city" and, in a few decades, it might be known as one of California's "big cities".

Now they want to spend a few billion dollars to bring BART underground in or nearby the heart of the city - like the problem San Jose downtown has is a lack of transportation.

Re:San Jose trying to promote its downtown, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39341163)

Actually, if they bring BART to downtown San Jose, any office space there becomes immediately viable. Commuting from Pleasanton or Oakland wouldn't be an impossible dream, but a possibility. The amount of parking required for those office buildings would decrease significantly. This is one of the better ideas. Bay Area dearly needs an integrated public transport network, where you can buy ONE monthly ticket with reasonable rates and use ANY public transport in the area. Between VTA, BART, Caltrain, Samtrains, Muni and god knows how many others, its nightmare to try to commute with public transport. Also BART needs to increase speeds by 30-40% to beat the car speeds by decent enough margins.

Re:San Jose trying to promote its downtown, again (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39341651)

There was a time when downtown SJ was really bad, one time my aunt wanted to shop downtown. My uncle agreed but told the parking lot attendant, "we will only be here for 10 minutes." He was right, my aunt after 10 minutes said lets get out of here. Then there was the big rebuilding of SJ but a lot of businesses were displaced or simply went out of business. Talked to someone whose family had a bicycle shop that started in something like 1901, their dream was to keep it going at least till 2001 (family business for 100 years!) but with the redevelopment channeled normal traffic away so went their customer base.

It all may be simply a paradigm shift. There was time when going downtown was exciting, that's where the action is. There's nothing at home (before people had big screen TV, movies, internet, home entertainment or simply wiped out after working 14 hour days). Back in those days only dullsville people stayed home.

Re:San Jose trying to promote its downtown, again (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39342485)

But why downtown? In any city, downtown is the scummiest place to be. Almost any city that improves downtown does it with just a short street of upscale yuppie restaurants a couple blocks away from poverty and crime. The only cities that really have a good downtown are those which are locked into limited land areas that can not grow: Manhattan and San Francisco. Everywhere else people prefer to move away from urban center as they get more money.

The downtown area is unusually dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39344061)

because the city deliberately killed off the club/music scene to promote cookie cutter franchises that close at 9PM.
WIFI -- woo hoo!, more hipsters impressing each other in coffee shops.

Tempe and Chandler, AZ (2)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339773)

Tempe, where the downtown area is dominated by the ASU campus, set up a free WiFi system a while back in the downtown slightly-off-campus area. As far as I know it is still operating but it was simply to attract people with computers to the bars and restaurants. It isn't that large an area and probably doesn't cost that much to operate. Hopefully the Tempe taxpayers - who are paying for it - find it not too objectionable.

Chandler got hooked up with a company called KiteNet which put access points on lightpoles in a fairly large area of the center of the city - much larger than the downtown area. They were sellling it as an alternative to the cable companies, except with cable you could get 10-20Mbs and their wireless configuration was a mesh with only a few connections to the Internet. Hence, the speeds would be pretty low with a lot of latency as the signal bounced from access point to access point finding its way to a wired connection. You might have 10-20 access points to go through or possibly even more in some places. Today the access points are still on the lightpoles and still powered up as far as I know - but the connection to the Internet was terminated years ago. Nobody signed up to pay and therefore the company closed down.

Nobody was going to pay for wireless access that is really slow but wireless with the sole advantage that they could connect to it on the streetcorner half a block from their house. No, they didn't have coverage in major parks or really anywhere that someone might sit around.

Municipal WiFi can be a taxpayer-funded gift and stick around as long as the taxpayers want to keep on giving the gift away. The problem with this comes when the gift starts to intersect with commercial offerings - unless we want the government to act as an active competitor to business it is an area they should stay out of. And for the significant percentage of the population that really has no interest in WiFi anything, who is going to make the compelling case for them funding it for the folks that want it?

More to the point, I think even a lot of businesses have figured out that you can't make WiFi pay. If it is free in a coffee shop then if the coffee is good people might use it - but the majority of customers aren't interested. If it isn't free in a coffee shop nobody is going to pay and hopefully they are there for the coffee anyway. Most of the "municipal" or bar-and-restaurant-area open area WiFi systems have figured this out by now. Even airports have started figuring out that if it isn't free there will not be enough users to pay for the equipment maintenance and connection fees - so they need to figure out some other way paying for it.

WiFi doesn't pay for itself. Hotels are probably the last remaining bastion where paid WiFi access is common and mostly that is outside of the US. You can't make it pay for itself no matter what you do without a captive audience and there are few places where you have a captive audience that needs to have a WiFi connection.

What about the smart meter crazy people? (1)

aegl (1041528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39341353)

We seem to have a highly vocal minority that believe the "radiation" from smart meters is destroying their lives. They've managed to convince PG&E to offer an opt-out plan to let them keep a non-transmitting meter. Surely a few of them live in the 1.5 square miles covered by this. Waiting for lawsuit to stop this in 3 ... 2 ... 1

Re:What about the smart meter crazy people? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39342501)

You're thinking of Santa Cruz.

budget battles may kill it (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39341487)

SJ has been going through budget pains. Even cops and firemen been laidoff and/or benefits reduced. There is cost of installing and maintaining such systems which if funded now, can easily be defunded later. I'm not impressed when "they" promote free wifi, however, I found SJC airport has fast wifi (at least the times I've used it). Most airports it is not free and it is problematic. Google has the free wifi in Mountain View though not that great but it's there. Hotels are hit or miss but it seems wifi is like that everywhere. So in long run I have little confidence in large scale free wifi. I think some of /. people can discuss further on throughput rate drop off with lots of user connectivity.

Regarding San Jose promoting downtown, ugh like San Francisco, getting there is a pain, parking there is a pain, I rarely go to these downtown places unless it is a special event I have specific interest. I will then see how I can use public transportation (i.e. park at some other place convenient then use LightRail). For San Jose events downtown like parades or Christmas In The Park, I use parking under the Fairmont Tower building at San Fernando and Market (where KPIX offices are, next to Fairmont Hotel). Parking is $6 per evening and somewhat easy to get in and out. Forget parking at Fairmont unless you are staying there, there is ***no spaces*** even for guests and sometimes no room for those staying there. Like all other cities be prepared for very long walk from where you park to where you want to go.

Speaking of events, there is Cinco de Mayo which I have never been to one of these parades, I always have some other event, i.e. ballroom dance showcase same day. Parades are quite festive with dances and music and looks like a lot of fun, usually done during daylight because in the evenings is when the rowdys come in and trash downtown. I think they've cancelled such parades, I remember one year driving through downtown when May 5 was a Thursday. See lots of people waving the Mexican flag, lots of police cars, traffic is diverted and channeled into one way flow to prevent huge backups.

saving on municipal communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39341621)

Could they save money on municipal communication systems? For example, if they are subscribing to cell-based systems to issue parking tickets, could they use a wifi based system instead? Invest in the equipment and then cut the ongoing service costs.

Minneapolis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39342171)

What about the city-wide WiFi network in Minneapolis?

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