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Google/Earthlink Wins San Francisco WiFi Deal

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the googlelink dept.

149

maximander wrote to mention coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle of that city's final decision on their city-wide WiFi system. They've chosen to go with Google and EarthLink. From the article: "In choosing to negotiate with the Google-EarthLink team, the city is going with two Internet giants with marque names. Both firms have deep pockets and proven track records online, but only limited experience building a large wireless network. The project, championed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, is intended to boost the city's technology credentials and help bridge the digital divide between the Internet haves and have-nots. It has also generated intense interest from other cities looking to build similar networks. "

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I'd love to try it (4, Funny)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076690)

Anyone know when it will be out of beta?

*ducks*

Re:I'd love to try it (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076973)

Whatever happened to the plan to drive trucks with GPS & digital cameras around and map things at street-level? (That was google, wasn't it?)

Re:I'd love to try it (1)

adamjudson (307197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077820)

You might be thinking of A9 [a9.com] .

Or if you want to DIY try photomap.mozdev.org

Adam

Congrats! (-1, Offtopic)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076704)

Congradulations, Google and Earthlink! Can I have a job now?

I Run Gentoo (0, Offtopic)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076711)

How does this affect me?

ah mayor newsom (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076714)

There are a few people who pulled everything to help the Bush reelection. Gavin Newsom (D) is probably one who helped the most. The 2004 "I declare gay marriage legal" spectacle was just precious.

Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (-1, Troll)

Zigg (64962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076716)

Wi-Fi a a basic human right, says SF Mayor [theregister.co.uk] .

Nothing has been worse for fiscal responsibility than when the public discovered they could vote themselves pieces of the treasury.

2-Tier Pricing Can Be Profitable ... (2, Insightful)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076781)

"Google, in Mountain View, intends to provide the free, so-called Wi-Fi access. The service it proposes would be faster than dial-up but slower than a typical broadband connection. In its joint bid, Earthlink plans to offer speedier access, but for a fee.

It looks like the entire scheme is a classic "the first dose is free but the good stuff'll cost ya" scheme. That's not necessarily a bad way to go, to implement a public good while preserving competitive incentives.

as if! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077010)

Is that why the baby Bells are fighting for two-tier internet servercice? They're going to give away basic service for free? SWEEET!

Re:as if! (1)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077556)

Probably not. But that's a different set of facts. RTFA and you'll see.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076821)

I agree, but with some thoughts.

I'm anarcho-capitalist, so I firmly believe that no government is the best form of government that can exist. That being said, I am more against Federal and State governments taking charge for providing services for people, since it is much harder to vote with my feet and exit the bad services (and their costs).

Yet I also believe that individuals do have a right to select a government within small groups. San Fran is a large city, but I wouldn't live there myself. I think that if the citizens of a town really want to finance this boondoggle (it isn't being provided freely by Earthlink and Google right?), let them do it.

I wouldn't live in a town with free WiFi. I live in a TINY village 1 hour from Milwaukee and Chicago each. We have 3 cheap WiFi providers in the area (very cheap), we have DSL and we have Cable, and now we have 2 more wired providers who are testing the waters. I see no reason to give free access on the taxpayer's backs.

I do share my WiFi access point with my neighbors (only one would be considered "not middle class.") as long as they give me their MAC address to filter in. I see no reason why San Fran should be any different -- if you want the poor to have access, pay for your own access and give them access to your router or AP.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076925)

Well, if you really belived that you'd be off some place practicing what you're preachin', not hanging out in a country with an actual government. Guess you're not as firm a believer as you think you are.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077007)

I live a fairly anarcho-capitalist lifestyle. I don't use American dollars for the majority of my income and purchases, I don't have credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages or federally funded income. I attempt to perform as much of my "welfare" through my church and a few charities that I directly volunteer with.

For the taxes I pay (more out of legal necessity), I find as many loopholes as possible for making sure I'm paying as little as possible.

The main road in my village is private and funded entirely by the residents through recommended donations rather than taxation. I am investigating buying land to open up a co-op village rather than an incorporated one, but the State works against me every time I bring up the idea. In the long run I'll still do it if I find enough people interested in a property-tax and public-school free village, no matter the Federal law.

I won't move out of the U.S., but I will make life more difficult for those who love the State. Rather than working to decrease the size of government in your household, you should fully support every program that you want: the best fall of the State is when it has made too many promises to too many people and collapses on its own.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077066)

You rode the short bus to school, didn't you?

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077184)

Does your village use barter or do you print your own currency or use something with more intrinsic value like gold/silver? Do you have banking? That's interesting, I'm not quite to anarcho-capitalism, but closer to what I like than most systems of organization.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077528)

I convert all my paper money into gold and silver immediately upon receiving it. I use gold and silver to purchase almost 30% of my goods right now, and I hope to make it 50% by year's end. You'd be amazed at the amount of local business owners who will take gold and silver at a HUGE discount over retail, I even found 2 gas station owners who will let me buy unleaded with gold and silver (at spot price).

For banking, I don't. I DO have a paypal account, and I also have a green dot debit card that I only fill with dollars if I need to buy something online. I am currently looking into investing in a bank that performs ALL transactions in grains of gold that the depositor owns -- converting to and from dollars on the fly at the current buy price of gold or silver.

It is not easy living this way, but it is VERY profitable. Because I transfer all my dollars into hard money right away (except for paying the basic utilities), I am very controlled in spending. I cut my salary almost 50% over 5 years but I am wealthier today than I have ever been in terms of security and ability to do what I want to do rather than what I have to do. I posted about it at my gold investment forum [unanimocracy.com] .

I still have employees who expect dollars, but they get their share before I pay my dividend. I've found some possible tax loopholes that help getting paid directly in gold or silver, but I am still in the process of verifying it with the IRS, so I am paying full tax on the true value rather than the US Mint value.

The way I like to call Anarcho-capitalism is "Life a la carte." I'm always surprised that people here want Cable TV channels a la carte and they want software a la carte, too, but they're happy accepting pre-packaged government services.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

drwho (4190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077283)

If you are an anarcho-capitalist, that sounds almost like a Libertarian. In which case, you may want to check out The Free State Project [freestateproject.org] - and move to New Hampshire.

Back on the topic at hand: I too am wary of government money being spent in this way. But if the money is going to be spent, I'd rather it be spent to build the network that is the least offensive to my libertarian sensibilities as possible.

What we're calling, alternately, 'User-Driven Infrastructure Development' or 'Bring Your Own Router', is a minimal city backbone mesh network, with the majority of the coverage being provided by users buying and installing their own equipment. Want to extend the mesh down your street? Go buy a $100 mesh router, put it in your window, and plug it in. Your neighbor can get onto the mesh using your router, but maybe in her house the signal is only available in one room...so she goes out and buys a mesh router, places it in that one room, and extends the signal throughout her house and to the next street over, where the other guy has a week signal, so he goes out to the store....

You get the idea. There's a lot of refinements that can be made to make it work faster, have better coverage, etc. I am not going to go over them here. This is all built on the high-quality, open-source mesh networking technology RoofNet [mit.edu] , which can run on commodity hardware. I am doing some improvements to it and building mesh routers for rooftops, etc. You can do the same. Excuse me while I tout my business, but you may be interested, and it is relevant: XA Networks [xa.net] .

As I mentioned in another post on article, we are building this for the City of Cambridge (of which Boston is a suburb). I've also sold equipment to other places in the US, Africa, and India. It's good, cheap technology...and it's NOT PROPRIETARY!

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077613)

If you are an anarcho-capitalist, that sounds almost like a Libertarian. In which case, you may want to check out The Free State Project - and move to New Hampshire.

I used to consider myself Libertarian but the Libertarian Party proved to me that they're all about power in politics and libertarians in office are easily corrupted [unanimocracy.com] . Now I vote very differently [unanimocracy.com] and for different reasons.

I believe the right actions for someone are not to vote or change government but to make real changes in their own lives -- be a beacon. In my church, I don't throw money around (although I do tithe between 20-50% of my income) but I spend time with people. I believe church is helping a guy fix his car or helping an old lady shovel her drive or helping a neighbor kid learn math. That is how I make a difference, not by voting or paying a charity to do work I should do.

I'm a big fan of the mesh networking idea, and I believe fully that the biggest problem with getting more bandwidth out there is the FCC. I wish they would vacate the airwaves [unanimocracy.com] and let the free market use the airwaves for moving more information as it is needed (a la carte style).

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077562)

I think the State already has more promises than it can ever hope to fulfill. The people living on the handouts just haven't realized it yet. It's only a matter of time until the credit bubble bursts and it falls under its own weight.

I also don't want to move out of the US. I think when people say you should move if you don't like it are totally missing the point. This is my home and it's much better to stay and try to make things better.

So, I guess we should actually vote for every single tax increase and restraint on freedom that gets proposed...

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077698)

So, I guess we should actually vote for every single tax increase and restraint on freedom that gets proposed...

That's what I've been pondering. I won't vote or support any increase or decrease, any addition or subtraction, just for the simple fact that Congress doesn't read the bills it votes for, and often times the bills contain more pork barrel spending than "fixing" of problems. I just find ways to extricate myself from the dollar and government services, and I support lawsuits against government as often as possible. I figured if 1 million freedom lovers would each spend US$1000 a year and hire our own law firm permanently, we could continuously file lawsuits against every government agency for the slightest constitution (State or National) violation. Keep THEM bottled up in lawsuits and they will leave us alone. Or go bankrupt fighting them.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077899)

I figured if 1 million freedom lovers would each spend US$1000 a year and hire our own law firm permanently, we could continuously file lawsuits against every government agency for the slightest constitution (State or National) violation. Keep THEM bottled up in lawsuits and they will leave us alone. Or go bankrupt fighting them.

They would probably send their security thugs after us and make our life generally difficult. Going bankrupt might be the most likely result. Even a billion dollars a year can't hope to match the resource of taxes stolen from 260 million people. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have a feeling that money would be better spent in assisting the poor and helpless living in streets and ghettos. We could probably gain a large following through charity. Basically, rather than fight the government, pour our resources into beating it at what it's supposed to do.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077959)

Which is actually how I love my life :) I spend about 20-40% of my monthly income on direct tithing support for people in my community, and almost 2 days a week doing the same. The best form of outreach is to truly help someone who is ready to be helped. My primary dislike of government is not helping people but teaching them to be needy. Those who go to government when they have needs are those who will never need my help.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077079)

I guess that would be an interesting post if it wasn't for the fact that the SF taxpayers aren't paying a dime for this.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077307)

I think that if the citizens of a town really want to finance this boondoggle (it isn't being provided freely by Earthlink and Google right?), let them do it. R.T.F.A.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (3, Insightful)

planetmn (724378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077610)

I think that if the citizens of a town really want to finance this boondoggle (it isn't being provided freely by Earthlink and Google right?), let them do it.

And from the article:
Both companies would share the cost of installing the necessary equipment, estimated at up to $12 million. San Francisco will pay nothing and actually reap some fees by leasing city property as perches for Wi-Fi antennas.

We have 3 cheap WiFi providers in the area (very cheap), we have DSL and we have Cable, and now we have 2 more wired providers who are testing the waters. I see no reason to give free access on the taxpayer's backs.

See above. Also, most people don't have those options. Most people, have the access to cable modem, some have access to DSL or other methods. But in most of the country, many choices don't exist. Also, most of these services are available because the companies were allowed right-of-way access to install the infrastructure. Access mandated by, you guessed it, the government.

Since you are an "anarcho-capitalist" (does this mean that if your house is on fire you don't call and use the services of the fire department? If it snows, do you make sure not to drive on the roads that the gov't plows?) You should love this idea. It is capitalism at it's best, companies competing to provide a service to consumers, at no cost to the government, nor the user.

-dave

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077814)

You're right, I didn't realize it was provided for by private companies, in which case I thin there is merit if it wasn't for the fact that the city of San Francisco had to protect the monopoly of service. Just because taxpayers don't pay for it doesn't mean that it is best for the taxpayers if only one company (or partnership in this case) provides a service.

Nothing is free. If the city will be making money leasing to these two, why don't they lease to anyone who wants entry? Why does the city have to lease anything, how about letting coffee shops and copy stores and private citizens offer it freely at no cost to anyone, not even Google and Earthlink?

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076835)

From TFA this deal will cost SF $0. Google and Earthlink will build the network and recoup costs through advertising (Google) and fees (Earthlink). In fact the city will make money by leasing city property for hardware to perch on. I agree in general that "we the parents demand 10% of the state budget go to education under all circumstances" type ballot measures are largely responsible for the fiscal mess in CA. In this case, however, it would appear to be a win-win-lose type situation (for Google/Earthlink - The People - The crappy cable companies)

Re:If the public wants Wifi... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077032)

Then by god they should be able to allow to vote for politicians that enact such policies. If the public wishes to not have fiscal responsibility and even vote in socialism into their government, then it is their god given right to do so.

I'm not saying free WiFi is socialism, but to say the public can't be allowed to have a referendum to pay for public works or elect representatives that cannot do what it wants is not a democracy (plain and simple).

Re:If the public wants Wifi... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077547)

Then by god they should be able to allow to vote for politicians that enact such policies. If the public wishes to not have fiscal responsibility and even vote in socialism into their government, then it is their god given right to do so.

Many towns, cities and municipalities have publicly owned and operated electricity, telephone or cable-TV systems, not to mention publicly owned and operated water, sewage and public-works departments, but I've never heard anyone say that any of those are "a basic human right."

If San Francisco wants city-wide. "affordable" Wi-Fi service, hey, more power to them; but calling it "a basic human right" elevates it from a luxury to a necessity and even implies that if San Francisco can't pay for it, then the state or federal government should pay for it.

On the other hand, The Register is a notorious rumour mill.

Re:Free speech, freedom of religion, and... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077130)

If you had read the article you'd realize that the city is not paying a dime, but actually making money from the project. Google and Earthlink are footing the bill to get a foothold, actually paying money to the city to rent space for the towers. Google wants to pump out more ads and Earthlink wants subscribers.

Win, win and win situation.

Did he actually say that? (1)

leoxx (992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077695)

The Register is not exactly known for accuracy in reporting and yet again it sounds like they sexed up what he actually said, which was "No San Franciscan should be without a computer and a broadband connection." [gavinnewsom.com] . That hardly sounds like he is calling it a "human right".

Not surprised... (4, Informative)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076724)

This isn't much of a surprise. Google is a Bay area fixture, and Earthlink has a major focus on providing urban Broadband. The partnership of the two is a natural and will make SF a key example of what more metro areas need to be.

Re:Not surprised... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076879)

Interestingly [marketwatch.com] , there is some opposition to Google's ad-supported free aspect of this service. You can't please everybody...

But what happened to "do no evil"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077213)

from the article:

Google executives have said that they consider the project an experiment for testing online advertising based on where a user is located.

So people wig out because rfid's in products threaten to expose your whereabouts and to make it easier for companies to spam you everywhere you go, but then Google proposes to do exactly the same thing (though in a more limited context) and everyone says "it's a natural"? Google is in it for the bucks, and if they can leverage our tax dollars to provide themselves with a "free" advertising channel, they are going for it. How is this not evil? Can the cities proposal be changed to not allow advertisements from the vendors, after all, once they chose, they're locked in right (which means that WE, the taxpayer is now locked in).

Lucky! (-1, Redundant)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076736)

Everyone - don't forget that WiFi is a Basic Human Right [newsforge.com]

Politicians hey? They're sooooo cute!

Re:Lucky! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076955)

Just think of the poor inner-city youth! How else are they going to be able to jack-off to pr0n? Damn this digital divide!

Re:Lucky! (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077311)

So the basic tally on our rights comes to: WiFi Pr0n trash Okay, I can live with that.

so... (0)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076745)

This will cost about $20 a month (based on there other pricing settings) so I don't really see this doing anything to address the "have and have nots" viz-a-viz the internet and Wifi. It probably won't be good enough to replace your home net connection and for $20 I would think you could get an ok net connection and a cheap rooter so how does it address the problem?

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076860)

What if you have neither cable or phone? I refuse to pay AT&T or Comcast extra money for services that I don't want.

RTFA please (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076886)

This will cost about $20 a month (based on there other pricing settings)

From the first sentence:
San Francisco on Wednesday chose the high-tech team of Google and EarthLink to bring free, wireless Internet access to virtually everyone in the city, possibly by the end of the year.
(emphasis mine).

Further down in the article:
For its part, Google, in Mountain View, intends to provide the free, so-called Wi-Fi access. The service it proposes would be faster than dial-up but slower than a typical broadband connection.

In its joint bid, Earthlink plans to offer speedier access, but for a fee. No price has been set, but EarthLink plans to charge around $20 a month in other cities where it is negotiating Wi-Fi contracts, including in Philadelphia and Anaheim.


Google gives free wifi, or you can upgrade the service by paying Earthlink $20/month or so (hasn't been set) if you want a faster connection.

There's no excuse for not even reading the first sentence of an article that isn't slashdotted. That includes moderators.

Re:RTFA please (2, Funny)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077015)

You know, there are some cultures in which they don't measure how intelligent you are by what you know or how clear your arguement is, but by how good you are at getting out of looking stupid when you've made a mistake... so here goes... although I was completely wrong and you are completely right, you might be inclined to read what i wrote in such a way that I was saying that the Wifi wouldn't be fast enough for a full time connection unless you bought the upgrade, in which case it does very little to address the ballence... second thoughts... that's what I meant all along

Re:RTFA please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077460)

Sorry, no. Nice try though!

Addresing the balance (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077494)

This is free and apparently better than dial-up. I know a few low-income people on dial-up, so this might address the balance, but my experience is in New Castle, IN and not San Francisco, CA.

Re:so... (1)

ibi (61235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076890)

The $20 figure is only if you get the "premium" earthlink version. The Google version is free.

Re:so... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076901)

Google is going to provide an ad-based "free" option, with bandwidth constraints. So it does help address the "digital divide".

cheap rooter? (1)

sisina (849900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077029)

for $20 I would think you could get an ok net connection and a cheap rooter

Used to be you could get a cheap rooter for $20, but I think Sony quit selling them.

Re:cheap rooter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077393)

i think he means rooster, i dont think sony sells them either

Re:so... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077834)

"This will cost about $20 a month (based on there other pricing settings) so I don't really see this doing anything to address the "have and have nots" viz-a-viz the internet and Wifi."

Chances are, if you can't spring a measly $20/mo....you probably can't afford to have a computer in the first place. It might be best suggested for those in this category, to go hit the public library, and use the connections and equipment there free of charge....possibly helping them to attain more education, and skills to get a better job to afford their own computers and connectivity.

WiFi, not Cash (5, Funny)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076753)

The project, championed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, is intended to boost the city's technology credentials and help bridge the digital divide between the Internet haves and have-nots.

The folks sleeping on the streets of the Tenderloin want their WiFi!

Re:WiFi, not Cash (2, Insightful)

teledyne (325332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077389)

You make a good point... sure free Wifi will "bridge the digital divide between the Internet haves and have-nots" but will it bridge the divide between the computer haves and have-nots?

Unfortunately this agreement between Google-Earthlink and the City of SF is only helping those many unemployed people get wifi access whose local coffee shop are to cheap to provide wifi access for their customers.

Is this agreement going to increase computer accessibility to the poor? Are there going to be more computers at the public library branches located throughout the city? Don't push your luck.

Re:WiFi, not Cash (0, Troll)

Jamil Karim (931849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077650)

Haven't you heard of trickle-down economics? There are millions of middle class people that will no longer have to pay $40 a month ($480 a year) on Wi-Fi access. With this additional "income", these middle class people will give more money, goods and services to the poor people.

Oh - What do you mean it doesn't work?

Re:WiFi, not Cash (1)

ThinSkin (851769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077779)

The folks sleeping on the streets of the Tenderloin want their WiFi!

Good God lad....LMFAO!

Re:WiFi, not Cash (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077967)

Well, T'loin folks just need to be tight with da Mayor like Larry and Sergey are [sfgate.com] ...

Re:WiFi, not Cash (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 8 years ago | (#15078011)

The folks sleeping on the streets of the Tenderloin want their WiFi!
Nice attempt at a troll. If you had bothered to read the article you would have seen the following:
Both companies would share the cost of installing the necessary equipment, estimated at up to $12 million. San Francisco will pay nothing and actually reap some fees by leasing city property as perches for Wi-Fi antennas.

Re:WiFi, not Cash (1)

bertramwooster (763417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15078088)

The folks sleeping on the streets of the Tenderloin want their WiFi!

Maybe the have-nots can charge tourists for wireless connectivity...

how long before lawsuits (3, Insightful)

hansoloaf (668609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076764)

or political maneuvering from telecos in the California Legislature to put an end to this? I bet they will wait until Google/Earthlink nears completion - then they will try to pull the rug and take over themselves.

Let's just get this out of the way now (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076765)

For those of you who can't be bothered to read TFA:


San Francisco will pay nothing and actually reap some fees by leasing city property as perches for Wi-Fi antennas.

Re:Let's just get this out of the way now (1)

fury88 (905473) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077469)

I was wondering who was paying to maintain these hotspots? I mean at some point they are going to weather, etc.

Bridging the gap? (2, Interesting)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076788)

I've never seen a bum sitting out on the street with his laptop asking, "Wi-Fi connection? Spare a kilobit? Sir? Sir?" to passersby. Unless Mayor Newsom is handing out $100 laptops to vagrants on the street, I don't know how this bridges the gap between tech haves and have-nots. Any word on plans to provide more than radio waves to the have-nots?

Re:Bridging the gap? (4, Insightful)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076927)

I think he is talking about the poor not the homeless. The poor are even getting to the point were they are purchasing machines, even second hand ones that you or I wouldnt pay for, but they are willing to pay a 100 bucks for and they then have a computer.

A homeless man is another problem entirely. But for a poor person, all the sudden being able to use a cheap wifi connector and some knowhow to get internet for free instead of 45 a month will be a great boon.

Re:Bridging the gap? (2, Insightful)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077410)

Don't libraries already offer free (filtered) Internet access to patrons with no equipment purchase necessary? I really have a hard time understanding the justification* for littering the city with wireless transmitters and claiming it will bridge any sort of gap, even if the city incurs no expense in doing so.

* Other than "A Vote For Mayor Newsom is a Vote For Free Wifi!" posters at the local coffeehouse

Re:Bridging the gap? (2, Insightful)

KFury (19522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077501)

"Don't libraries already offer free (filtered) Internet access to patrons with no equipment purchase necessary? I really have a hard time understanding the justification* for littering the city with wireless transmitters and claiming it will bridge any sort of gap"

Going to the library twice a week to check your email isn't the same thing as having a broadband 24/7 connection in your home. It's people who don't realize that who are holding the digital divide wide open, pushing with both arms.

Re:Bridging the gap? (2, Interesting)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077637)

I know people my age who are perfectly capable of paying for DSL who don't feel a 24/7 broadband connection is a vital expense. Dial-up providers still cater to people for whom $10 a month is an acceptable cost for Internet access. This service is going to be speed-limited and ad-supported -- how do you even know it's going to be "broadband" for free?

Tomorrow on Slashdot: some people claim not to own televisions, have landline phones, or read newspapers! How can we let this injustice stand?!

Re:Bridging the gap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077605)

Unfortunately, as I understand it, the $100 laptop guys are going to flatly refuse to sell their $100 laptop here in the US, even to the poor.

Hopefully, quicker than Philadelphia (2, Informative)

jellings (199721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076793)

It would be good to see one of these city wireless plans finally come to fruition;
Philadelphia has been having a tough time finally getting its own initiative off the ground . . .
http://www.wirelessphiladelphia.org/ [wirelessphiladelphia.org]

I also look forward to seeing evidence that these initiatives are bridging the 'digital divide' in these cities.

Re:Hopefully, quicker than Philadelphia (1)

unjedai (966274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077100)

What digital divide? Read this NY Times story about the lack of one: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/us/31divide.html ?_r=1&oref=login [nytimes.com] (Registration required, or get credentials here: http://www.bugmenot.com/view.php?url=www.nytimes.c om [bugmenot.com] )

Replacement? (2, Insightful)

fusto99 (939313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076799)

From the article... "It remains to be seen whether residents will use the Wi-Fi system as a replacement for their existing wire-based Internet connections. Early fears by the mayor that the telecommunications industry would fight against the project by filing lawsuits have yet to materialize." As we've seen with people willing to pay extra for the faster speeds of Cable over DSL, I doubt many people will use it as a replacement for broadband. You can also think about how many people use NetZero's free dialup server instead of paying for another dialup provider such as Earthlink. I guess time will tell though on what affect it has on competitors.

Re:Replacement? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077907)

"...people use NetZero's free dialup server instead of paying for another dialup provider such as Earthlink."

Just out of curiosity, I went to NetZero's site...to see about 'free' dial up, in case I'm travelling somewhere and that would be only alternative.

I can't find on their site where the FREE accounts can be had....any ideas?

Grilled Deviled Chickens with Sauce (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076868)

6 boneless breasts of chicken (skinless) or 6 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. sherry
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Tabasco
1/2 c. olive oil
Melted butter
3 c. toasted bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Marinate chicken for 2 hours in a mixture of soy sauce, sherry, olive oil, Tabasco, and mustard. Broil for 6 minutes per side (time may vary if using dark meat). Remove from oven, dip in melted butter, and roll in bread crumbs and pepper mixture. Return to broiler for 2 minutes; watch carefully. Brush with butter and broil for another minute. Serve with Sauce Bernaise:

SAUCE BERNAISE:

3 scallions or shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp. tarragon or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 c. wine vinegar
1/4 c. white wine
2 tsp. chopped parsley
1/4 lb. butter
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Dash of Tabasco

Basic Hollandaise sauce ingredients.

Cut the butter into 3 equal parts. Beat egg yolks slightly and add seasonings. Place in an enamel, glass or pottery container over hot water. Using a wire whisk, beat in 1/3 of the butter, then the second piece and then the third. Do not let the water boil. This is Hollandaise to this point. If it should curdle, add a touch of boiling water and continue stirring until it emulsifies again.

In a small pan, combine shallots, wine vinegar, wine, and chopped parsley. Bring to a boil and reduce to practically a glaze. Add this to the basic Hollandaise sauce and correct the seasoning. If tarragon is fresh, it is nice to stir in an extra amount.

Re:Grilled Deviled Chickens with Sauce (1)

Soporific (595477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077108)

Might be off topic but it sounds good and I think I'm going to try it.

~S

holy crap, what's the fat content on this?!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077273)

Nasty troll, isn't it bad enough that most slashdotters are fat and sedentary as it is? Do you really have to be giving out such heart-unhealthy recipes?!! Why not just suggest they mainline the butter right into an artery?!!!

Some heart-healthy recipe trolls, please.

Wifi for the poor... (4, Insightful)

Xichekolas (908635) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076911)

Chances are that no one will read this because I am languishing in Bad Karma Hell, but just wondering... why provide this great free WiFi in the name of the poor? Did someone miss the fact that you need a computer to get on the net? City wide WiFi is a great idea and all... but it helps the middle class more than anyone. Unless you bundle it with some kind of computer giveaway or those fabled $100 laptops, it's not going to be the 'great internet equalizer' or lead to any kind of social equity...

Re:Wifi for the poor... (1)

cinnamoninja (958754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077109)

Unless you bundle it with some kind of computer giveaway or those fabled $100 laptops, it's not going to be the 'great internet equalizer' or lead to any kind of social equity...

It's not hard to buy a $100 computer. It's not going to be particular new or (in my opinion) particularly useable, but you can get one.

Just check craigslist or your local flea market or swap meet. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if computer donation charities get a growth spurt
because of this wifi program. Check out some links like these for information on donating your own old machines:

http://www.crc.org/ [crc.org]
http://www.techsoup.org/recycle/donate [techsoup.org]
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Technology/Computers_fo r_Learning_pro.html [edu-cyberpg.com]

-Cinnamon

Re:Wifi for the poor... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077432)

I recently got a 1GHz Athlon with a 256MB of RAM and a 20GB disk. Where did it come from? The local tip. This machine is more than adequate for getting on the Internet. I have been unable to give away machines about half that speed. Desktop machines are practically free these days, unless you want something that is overpowered for 95% of users.

DIGG GOT IT FRIST (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15076962)

See also: digg, an hour ago.

Earthlink, a front for $cientology?! (2, Funny)

wuzzle_wuzzle (220253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15076968)

Re:Earthlink, a front for $cientology?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077058)

Gasp! More reasons to call Google evil!!!!!

Re:Earthlink, a front for $cientology?! (2, Interesting)

Xochil (542406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077249)

Our mayor in SF, Gavin Newsom, coincidentally enough...is dating a scientologist.

--Mike

Re:Earthlink, a front for $cientology?! (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15078025)

L. Ron already invaded SF. Scientology has a huge building near the TransAmerica pyramid.

Just a thought (5, Funny)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077001)

I wonder if this will cause a decrease in the number of people who are interested in learning how to hack someone's wireless simply because they want to be able to use a network where ever they go. It'd be interesting if the simple act of making a blanket wifi network for a city caused a distinct lack of interest in hacking wireless.

disclaimer:
Yes, by hacking I mean using someone elses tools to break someones WEP or WPA-PSK encrypted network. Is there a word for script kiddying? skidding?

Great, more bad security. (3, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077072)

Am I the only one that sees the proliferation of WiFi as a major network security problem? Seems you cant go anyplace without being able to find an open wireless network. Someplace around my office has not just an open network, but an open intercontinental network. If I dont turn off the 802.11 function on my laptop I'll see computer systems in tokyo.

So the problem is thus, people in my office, connected to our LAN are also connected to this wide open network where all sorts of bad things could be roaming free. Windows and MacOS both seem to automaticly connect to these rogue networks and thus bypass any local network security I can enforce.

Re:Great, more bad security. (1)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077179)

MacOS both seem to automaticly connect to these rogue networks and thus bypass any local network security I can enforce.

Huh?
MacOS can not find the preferred wireless network. Would you like to connect to "linksys"?

How is that automatically connecting to a rogue AP?

Re:Great, more bad security. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077225)

My older version of OSX on my iBook just connects. My newer copy that came with my Intel Mini asks. So they seem to have addressed it at least in part. But trying to get my users to not connect their notebooks to the open wifi spots is an unwinnable fight.

Re:Great, more bad security. (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077489)

Windows XP:
go to your wireless icon (there are other ways to get where i'm going, this is the one i know): select view available wireless networks.
in 'related tasks' choose 'change advanced settings' (another way to get to this point, go to network connections, select your wireless network, right click and select properties).

Go to the wireless networks tab.

Click advanced.

Uncheck the box that says 'automatically connect to non-preferred networks'.

And be sure to remove any networks you don't want to connect to from the existing list.

Re:Great, more bad security. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077654)

Am I the only one that sees the proliferation of WiFi as a major network security problem?

No. People who fear EM radiation causes cancer are also worried.

Someplace around my office has not just an open network, but an open intercontinental network. If I dont turn off the 802.11 function on my laptop I'll see computer systems in tokyo.

You automatically connect to wireless networks with your default setup? You have bigger problems than a city wi-fi program.

So the problem is thus, people in my office, connected to our LAN are also connected to this wide open network where all sorts of bad things could be roaming free.

So take control of the machines on your LAN already. If they are desktops you should have them locked down. If they are laptops, you should require authentication before you let them randomly join your network anyway and at that point you can enforce routing all internet through your servers. Have you ever heard of a VPN?

Windows and MacOS both seem to automaticly connect to these rogue networks and thus bypass any local network security I can enforce.

Some versions of Windows do, OS X does not in their default configurations. Nothing stops a user with full access to their own machine from using an external network so you should enforce policy. If people are breaking it, set up a wireless honey net and fire anyone who connects. Or just set up your own wireless and LAN and require all access to go through a VPN. Use wireless blocking paint if you have to. It is not like this is an unsolvable problem.

Re:Great, more bad security. (1)

dgrati (877339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077667)

Interesting thought. $100Laptop+Wifi+Homeless_Living_on_the_street = ? Possible data entry jobs? Possible way to bring out the homeless?

Re:Great, more bad security. (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077720)

jsut an fyi.. one of the screwy ways you can help protect your stuff is when you send out DHCP packets including a custom routing table that forces everything to run through your network..

then on your router block access to the networks that are rogue (if they are routable) and then watch to see who is trying to send to them and go shut them down.

if you have a computer (windows and mac) with two interfaces and one is dhcp and gets a static routing table for all subnets to it's gateway then when something trys to connect on the rogue interface it will ack back on your interface..

so unless someone can exploite a UDP hole on the computers rogue interface they can not establish a connection.

i do this in our small office just so that i can asure people are going out the right router when they go some where but it has the nice sideeffct of screwing the other interfaces while they are on the network.

Telcos will fight this tooth and nail (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15077087)

Good try! but I'm sure as past posts have mentioned as soon as this thing comes close to being real (ie. the first AP comes online), the Telcos will put pressure on the powers that be to stall , or otherwise get a cut of the action for themselves.. Look at New Orleans and all their strife.. too much entrenched interest are at stake. But its nice to see some cities having the fortitude to try it.. Out of curiosity what is the largest metro wifi in place today?

Re:Telcos will fight this tooth and nail (1)

Day_Is_Never_Finishe (966579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077946)

I was going to make the same point about New Orleans. The hogs at the trough are not going to let this happen easily. On a side note: Kudos to Greg Meffert, the CIO of New Orleans, for fighting the good fight for free wireless access...even if it is only 512Kb.

Not good news (2, Insightful)

drwho (4190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077092)

The Google/Earthlink deal is not good for consumers: The use of proprietary technologies and hand-picked 'competitors' promise nothing more than another tightly controlled network. So now there will be Cable, DSL, and Googlink. Whoop-de-doo - the illusion of freedom.

It would have been better to implement something like RoofNet, which is fully open source and runs on off-the-shelf components. It's high performance, well tested, and in use here in Cambridge. There will be some add-ons to it made by my company, XA Networks [xa.net] , but compatibility with the open-source software is guaranteed.

Score another for L. Ron Hubbard (1)

Kittyglitter (954997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077214)

As a former Earthlink employee (I know, who isn't these days) I can tell you first hand that there is no Scientology propaganda in the break rooms, despite the President being a strong beliver in its, um...benefits.

However...

Half of Hollywood already follows his UFO religion displayed by poster boy Tom Cruise. His Austrian convert is worming his way into more and more govenment workings. Now his followers are taking over the wireless waves. We really should have seen this coming.

I can't help but wonder what plans for California are being devised in a well lit, non-smoking, board room before heading out to a safe night spot for an all night not-drinking binge.

Big names deep pockets etc. (2, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077229)

It is really funny seeing Google playing the "big name with deep pockets" game so soon after their IPO. So much for "great technology with insightful capital".

I put together the technical end of the first municiple mesh in the US using LocustWorld meshboxes. It happened only because I moved out of silicon valley to a small town with no municiple bureaucracy to schmooze up. There were just some folks who wanted wireless for tourists coming through their town and we even got it set up so the local ISP didn't get put out of business by the tax subsidy. They took some bids from guys that had no "pockets" or "marquee" at all, and got a solution. I look around at the solemn rhetoric about the wireless mesh in New Orleans subsequent to Katrina, and the rhetoric about rich and poor in San Francisco's wireless access and just thank my lucky stars I'm out here with a bunch of "inbred hicks who don't know what leading edge technology is."

Come to Berkeley! (1)

eudean (966608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077372)

We students are getting reamed by Comcast. Give us some free WiFi over here!

Re:Come to Berkeley! (2, Funny)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077968)

Imagine that; someone from Berkely calling a tax-funded government service "free".

Missing The Point (3, Insightful)

totalbasscase (907682) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077490)

Nobody's saying every resident of San Francisco needs to cancel their broadband and use Googlink. It's just convenient. I can't wait for the day if/when a similar project comes to fruition in NYC, and I can just open my laptop wherever I want and be online. It's a freedom students enjoy on college campuses that we start to take for granted... until we get home for the summer. And it's a bummer.

People can keep their Comcast or Verizon or whoever does their high-speed at home... but now your local municipality provides access to the sum total of the world's information wherever you want it. About damn time.

big shock (1)

macsox (236590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077514)

Not a huge surprise -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome is good friends with Larry and Sergei [sfgate.com] .

AOL (1)

na641 (964251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077561)

Damn... i was hoping AOL would win that deal. *shakes fist

so much for "Do no Evil." (0, Flamebait)

slashpot (11017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077651)

If Google is teaming w/ Earthlink on anything - then their do no evil maxim is shot.

Earhlink sucks - they are one of the most evil ISPs on the planet. I can't even count the number of friends and family I know who got screwed in Atlanta when Earthlink swallowed Mindspring, and then over the course of a few years fired everybody worth a shit and outsourced all the support, most of the networking, and the majority of the well paid unix and developer jobs to shitty incompetent counterparts in India. They PR'd it as becoming a globably supporting company while at the same time everyone even in upper management (what was left of it) was cussing Sprint's greedy ass exec teams for killing everything Mindspring had worked to build.

Earthlink is Evil - Google doing Earthlink is the same as Google doing Evil.

don't they already have it? (2, Funny)

squison (546401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15077665)

Doesn't San Fran already have WiFi everywhere? I mean.. there's 108 [starbucks.com] Starbucks within a 10-mile radius..
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