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Details on San Francisco's Free Wifi

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the both-the-wi-and-the-fi-are-free dept.

Wireless Networking 80

FrenchSilk writes to mention that the San Francisco Chronicle has more details on the previously discussed Earthlink/Google municipal wifi project. The paper confirms that free access will be free to everyone, with higher bandwidth and more reliable tiers also available. The article touches on a number of related subjects, such as security, reliability, and privacy. From the article: "Recognizing the concerns expressed by electronic privacy advocates and community members, the City has negotiated an Agreement that addresses the privacy needs of our residents, negotiating terms stronger than any other City and incorporating protections that go far beyond what federal, state or local law requires. EarthLink and the provider of the free service will be required to fully disclose their privacy policy. This ensures that all users are aware of the privacy policies."

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80 comments

Wifi (4, Informative)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485722)

But does it run on Linux? All joking aside, the service seems pretty decent for a free service (300 Kbps), although $21.95 for a 1 Mbps service is a bit under the norm, but possibly a better deal than whatever internet providers exist in SF now- especially considering the mobility of it. The $12.95 discount for low-income residents makes me go "WTF" though- if your family is "low-income" by the conventional measure (poverty line) you probably shouldn't be spending money on wi-fi. I detect political hijinks. I wonder how the service is going to know whether each person is "free" or "paid", and how long it'll be before that gets hacked.
I do like the following things, though: Network neutrality. The City has required that EarthLink adhere to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) principles of internet freedom to address any potential for abuse of consumers or retail service providers. Non exclusivity: The agreement provides access to the City's right of way and facilities on a competitively neutral and non discriminatory basis. Nothing will prevent additional Wi-Fi providers from deploying similar networks should they desire to do so. Open Access: The agreement ensures that all internet service providers, including our local businesses, nonprofits and other organizations, will be able to provide commercial services without fear of a local monopoly. The City is not granting an exclusive franchise; rather, the City has negotiated an Agreement that provides the foundation for competition.

Re:Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485734)

You seem to be new. Your post must have "frist port" in order to have ever increasing karma.

Low Income (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485840)

Without knowing the specifics of this law, I would say that "Low Income" probably means something different in San Francisco than you'd expect.

It's been a few years since I lived there, but... at the time, there were laws in place that apartment complexes meeting certain size criteria or what have you were required to offer some percentage of their units at reduced rates to "low income" residents. At one apartment complex I looked at living at at the time, "low income" was any family with a household income less than $62k.

Re:Low Income (2, Informative)

aslvrstn (1047588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486030)

At the same time, salaries are proportionately raised. Job offers at Google's HQ in CA pays a good $30-$40k more than their new Pittsburgh, PA office. It may not be the best sample points, but I have friends whose parents each make solid 6 figures in CA and live at about the same level that I do with one parent making minimal six-figures in PA. I do still agree though, if people really are living with relatively low incomes, whatever that may be, they shouldn't be spending it on increasing their internet experience, nor should they be incited to by the lower cost.

Re:Low Income (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17486246)

because only rich people use the internets.

Re:Low Income (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486536)

if people really are living with relatively low incomes, whatever that may be, they shouldn't be spending it on increasing their internet experience, nor should they be incited to by the lower cost.

That's right, they should be spending it on Slim Jims, beer and lottery tickets, like the good old days.

We'll have none of this tapping into a world of information, education, free software, looking for work, looking for a better place to live, access to cheap delivered goods instead of being stuck getting everything from the low income neighborhood ripoff joint, effective communication with each other across town or across the globe without having to support a landline/cell contract, etc. Think of the children, man!

Especially at a lower cost than what they're paying now for inferior service. Jeeeezus Christ, where's the economic sense in that? Do you know what will happen to the nation's economy if the mass of low income people start being incited to buy things because they cost less?

It'll collapse, that's what it'll do. We depend on them to buy Kellog's Frosted Flakes instead of Corn Meal and sugar, Microsoft Windows instead of downloading Ubuntu, emergency room visits for flu instead of a reasonably priced GP down the block, blockbuster movies instead of community theater.

Just who do they think they are determining their own priorities anyway? The whole point of having low income people around is so that higher income people can tell them how they should be living, innit? Next thing ya know they'll start thinking they might like an afternoon at the art museum or something. We'd have to rub shoulders with them or something if we allowed that sort of thing; when they should be putting in that sixteenth hour at work, dammit. They obviously need the three bucks.

No, the purpose of low income people is to pick oranges/cotton to provide tax dollars to provide museums and ubiquitous WiFi for high income people.

Fucking peasants are revolting.

Next week if you're not careful.

KFG

Re:Low Income (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17487762)

Where the fuck are the moderators on this post?

Re:Low Income (1)

aslvrstn (1047588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17489070)

My point wasn't that they shouldn't be paying for internet access if they don't have any; I fully agree that it can be nearly as important as basic utilities for nearly anyone. But if they're already getting free access, why the need to pay more for better service? Perhaps it would be better spent on things more needed, or *gasp*, put away in savings. I agree that most people likely won't, but why should the state be inciting them to spend money on things they don't need, like an improved browsing experience?

Re:Low Income (2, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17488908)

Now could the economists here (armchair or otherwise) explain to me how this condition doesn't collapse, especially when it's driven in part by the technology industry, which has far fewer reasons to physically locate anywhere in particular? Considering that the rest of the world-- the rest of the country, even-- is paying far less wage for the same amount of living, how does the inflated wage/price leapfrog continue, yet still manage to survive within the greater saner, more reasonably-priced world?

Re:Low Income (1)

Belgand (14099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486232)

To provide some relevant information the minimum wage just increased here with the new year to $9.14/hr.

Re:Low Income (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486374)

That's quite the nice minimum wage there. Can we borrow your legislators here?

Re:Low Income (1)

dynamo52 (890601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486398)

The cost of living here is high. I would not consider that a living wage as a single male with no children. A 1 bedroom apartment here runs about $1200 and other expenses are high as well. $62K for a family of four would be low income by US standards.

Re:Low Income (1, Informative)

Belgand (14099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17494460)

I know it's high. I'm paying $1200 on a 1 bedroom apartment (a basement place about a block from the Daly City BART, but just barely within city limits) shared with my girlfriend. For comparisons I was paying about $600 for a larger two bedroom apartment in a well-managed complex with in-unit washer/dryer, dishwasher, included cable TV, and pool before moving. That was in a small, college town in Kansas (Manhattan, KS to be exact) though where that was at the high end of the scale.

At the same time though I've found that the majority of other basic living expenses (e.g. food) tend to be roughly equivalent to what I was paying previously. I've only lived here for a few months and while things are more expensive in general, in my experience most basic services are only slightly higher if at all.

Re:Low Income (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17487506)

Is it really? It works out at £4.697 at today's exchange rate, while the minimum wage here is £5.35/hour, or $10.41/hour. Cost of living here (Wales) is a lot lower than California too...

Re:Low Income (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17490960)

Interesting. But it's true, San Francisco's minimum wage is a lot higher than ... well, that of most of the United States. Sales tax -- it's like your VAT but instead of being figured into the sticker price of goods it's added on at the register -- also varies from state to state and even from locality to locality within the state. In San Francisco you add 8.5 percent tax onto the price of everything you buy, other than groceries. And the earlier poster is correct ... a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco will run you about $1,200, maybe $1,250. A "studio apartment" -- basically one room with a kitchen and a bathroom -- is probably $950 minimum. The costs usually creep up a little bit every year.

Re:Wifi (2, Insightful)

norkakn (102380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485866)

*disclaimer: I had a pitcher of beer and a bottle of wine*

The internet means more to 'low income' folks than to us in a lot of ways. It's a way to stay in touch with friends without physical addresses or access fees.

Re:Wifi (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485986)

Actually $21.95 is for symmetric 1Mbps. It's quite unusual to pay that little for 1Mpbs upload capacity, at least around SF.

Of course, these are early reports, so I'll believe that when I see it.

As far as the system knowing whether you've paid, that'll probably work much like it does at Starbucks or wherever. The difference here is that your credentials will be used to adjust some rate-limiting on a router somewhere I guess.

Re:Wifi (4, Insightful)

fiddlesticks (457600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486244)

"if your family is "low-income" by the conventional measure (poverty line) you probably shouldn't be spending money on wi-fi"

Care to share with us anything else that you think people on low incomes shouldn't be spending money on?

Books? Holidays? Clothes?

On the other hand, perhaps subsidising people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to go online is a good thing. Maybe that way they'll, you know, learn stuff/ get jobs/ have fun - all the things everyone else uses the Net for.

Oh, right, this is /. The market will take care of it, riiiight?

Re:Wifi (0, Troll)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486320)

Holidays? Absolutely.

When you have money to burn, then you can burn it on Holy Days. Worry about food and rent now.

Re:Wifi (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17490884)

That's right. Back to the coal mines, you proles! Since when does the world owe you the light of day?

Re:Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17486566)

Thank god, now I can spend less of my limited income on porn.

Re:Wifi (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17488544)

If you can afford the required hardware, and the $12 per month, you're not exactly "low income". Especially if you're willing to pay even though there's a FREE service available.

There's something very wrong about a society which classifies "poor" as "someone with only one computer".

Re:Wifi (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17490906)

There's something very wrong about a society which classifies "poor" as "someone with only one computer".

Really? Wow. That would seem like the ideal society to me. If it were really true, it would be a virtual utopia. How desperate and starving do the poor people have to be for a society to count as "right" in your view?

Re:Wifi (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17492610)

Are you naturally retarded, or did it actually take some effort to write that response?

The problem isn't that the "poor" are too wealthy, the problem is that people continue to shift the definition of what it means to be poor. At what point do you say "enough! you're not getting any more free shit!"? When people with large homes, multiple vehicles, plenty of food, medical care, and all sorts of luxuries can still be classified as "poor", and demand our pity (and money), that's WRONG. There's no two ways about it. I don't mind giving money to make sure that people have the basic necessities of life. I'm quite happy to do it in fact. On the other hand, I get a little pissed off when people start forcing me to subsidize some "poor" family's big-screen TV, or their internet access.

Re:Wifi (1)

fiddlesticks (457600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17492920)

'Are you naturally retarded, or did it actually take some effort to write that response?'

Ah, a natural debater.

'the problem is that people continue to shift the definition of what it means to be poor.'

Yes, society does that. It's called relative poverty, or inequality.

'I don't mind giving money to make sure that people have the basic necessities of life'

Hurrah!

Don't you think that in a developed, civilised country, internet access becomes a necessity?

Would you give it up? No? Oh, but the poor shouldn't have it. I ask again, what exactly is the baseline? Food, a home. Warmth? New clothes, or will old clothes do? Should having kids be a 'luxury'?

Re:Wifi (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17494034)

"Yes, society does that. It's called relative poverty, or inequality."

Oh, I see the problem here. You're a commie. Well. No wonder.

Hey, how 'bout we start handing out Olympic medals to everyone? You know, in the name of equality. God forbid some people do better than others.

Poverty is one thing, inequality another. I'll fight poverty, sure, but those trying to make me equal to everyone else can all go to hell.

Re:Wifi (1)

fiddlesticks (457600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17495562)

Ah, I see the problem, here. You're an idiot. Well. No wonder.

We're talking about wifi, and poverty, you're talking about the Olympics. and medals (??) and commies (?????)

'I'll fight poverty, sure'

And howm exactly, Mr Clark Kent, are you fighting poverty? By not eating so many chocolates?

'Poverty is one thing, inequality another.'

And there we were just agreeing that they are two sides of the same coin, and that there's no /absolute/ definition of poverty that doesn't take into account relative inequality. Go back to your medals, Batman.

Re:Wifi (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17495844)

Maybe I should change my tagline to "I don't respond to idiots".

For you, I'll make an exception. Let me lay it out for you Einstein:

You are equating poverty with equality. That my friend is a communist, or at the very least "socialist", mindset. You are in effect saying that eliminating poverty is not enough - we must also work to make sure that everyone is as equal as possible. Now, in your ignorance, I'm sure that this sounds like a fantastic idea.

Having grown up under a communist regime, I know better.

I could spend days expounding on the kind of depravity and oppression which can be justified by such ideologies. I could spend hours trying to explain to you why such behaviour is the equivalent of societal suicide. I'll do neither, since the record of the communist ideology is clear to see for anyone who cares to look around.

Enforced "equality" has been used to justify so much slaughter, oppression, and misery that, in this respect, it is almost on par with religion. Feel-good ideas like yours are the security-blankets of weak minds, and a trademark of the bumper-sticker philosopher. I'll be damned if I'll let mindless cretins such as yourself take away my money and achievements just because others were too stupid, lazy, or incompetent to acquire the same for themselves. Today it's asking me to subsidize the wireless access of "poor" families - tomorrow it's telling me that I can't have any bread because I'm big and strong and able to work for myself, but the fat lazy slob in the corner gets a loaf because he's "poor, weak, and unable to provide for himself". I've seen what your kinds of mindset leads to. If you want to drag me down that road you'd better bring some heavy artillery, because I'll be fighting every step of the way.

Re:Wifi (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17519678)

Wow. You are really crazy, as in out-of-your-mind crazy, aren't you?

You are equating poverty with equality.

Really? From my read of the thread, you're the only one doing that. The other guy isn't quite as nuts as you.

Enforced "equality" has been used to justify so much slaughter, oppression, and misery that, in this respect, it is almost on par with religion. Feel-good ideas like yours are the security-blankets of weak minds, and a trademark of the bumper-sticker philosopher.

And here I thought we were talking about rolling out free Wi-Fi in San Francisco.

I'm actually glad you're not an American. Here you'd probably be allowed to own guns.

Re:Wifi (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17494172)

If you can afford the required hardware, and the $12 per month, you're not exactly "low income".


Uh, who said anything about the poor buying a computer? What happens to all the old computers when someone buys a new one from Dell?

The old ones get recycled. Smarter recyclers realize there are some powerful machines being recycled - powerful enough to do basic word processing and surf the 'net. Heck, if you know of underpriviledged people, you might give them your old computer that's too "slow" for you.

Even a Pentium is a fast computer for someone who can't afford one otherwise. And it can do a decent job rendering web pages, if you're patient. And most have slots you can stick in a Wifi card. (Heck, that $12 a month probably helps pay for a "free" card). Put Linux on it, and it'll be fairly decent. Sure it can't play the latest games, nor see flashy websites, but it can do email, surf the web, word processing and the other basics.

Or heck, given that computers are in the low couple of hundred dollars, they might acquire one that way through months of saving. A $300 computer is only 15 months of saving if you put away $20 a month. Low income doesn't necessarily mean living in poverty - they may live quite comfortably on what they have (different definitions of "comfortable"), and still have a few bucks left over...

Re:Wifi (1)

iamstretchypanda (939837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17495222)

"if your family is "low-income" by the conventional measure (poverty line) you probably shouldn't be spending money on wi-fi"

This should be read as:
If your family is "low-income" by the conventional measure (poverty line) you probably shouldn't be spending money on wi-fi when you're already getting it for free.

If they did not have a way of easy [free] access to the internet then they have a reason to spend money on it. On the other hand, if they are already getting broadband access to the internet for free they probably shouldn't be spending their money on a better connection.

No more free ride for the "poor" (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486266)

The $12.95 discount for low-income residents makes me go "WTF" though- if your family is "low-income" by the conventional measure (poverty line) you probably shouldn't be spending money on wi-fi.

Yeah, right. We wouldn't want poor people trying to improve their technical skills, take online courses, or any of that crap.

And while we're at it, let's close down the public libraries. Face it, people who aren't poor can afford to buy their own own books. And yet they're the ones who pay the taxes that support the public libraries. Another ripoff!

And don't get me started on "public" schools....

Re:No more free ride for the "poor" (1)

iamstretchypanda (939837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17495242)

Yeah, right. We wouldn't want poor people trying to improve their technical skills, take online courses, or any of that crap.


Is 300kbs free to slow to take online courses and improve their technical skills. If so, I agree with offering them a faster connection at a lower rate.

Clarification (3, Interesting)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485730)

When you say "free", do you mean:

1. Free as in beer.
2. Free as in speech.
or
3. Free as in taxpayer-subsidized?

Re:Clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485750)

Wait... isn't free beer subsidized as well? Eventually, anyway.

Re:Clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485758)

Of course 3, but do you not beleive in sacrificing for the common good? Does your capitalist greed make you want to deny the people the right to the internet?

Without internet access paid for by the rich who have too much anyway, poor people will not be able to access online medical information, so more will die. Show some compassion!

Free internet... free medical care... free housing... free food.... oh, sorry, that is Communism.

Re:Clarification (4, Interesting)

supervillainsf (820395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485812)

I guess you didn't rtfa. Here is the relevant info:

Fees paid to the City:
$600,000 in guaranteed payments for access to the City's right of way.
An estimated $40,000 per year for the use of City facilities (street light poles);
A 5% share of all gross access revenues, estimated to generate $300,000 per year, depending on paying subscriber uptake. These funds may be used to fund computer and other equipment, training and self-help programs and community relevant content development.


So I guess the answer is free as in Earthlink thinks that between advertising and subscribers to the 1Mbps tier, the service will produce enough profit to far out weigh the costs. And, if it doesn't, i'm sure Earthlink will find some way around the privacy clause and start selling personal info on top of the huge amount of marketing that we are bound to put up with for access.

Re:Clarification (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485976)

The paying subscriber model alone is probably enough to be worth it for earthlink, I think. (Ads for google). Not to mention the ready access to politicians that can be "donated to" in exchange for favorable laws.

Re:Clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17486334)

Read closer:

Google contributes to our model by being the provider of the free service tier, and bringing innovative new applications and services to the network.


The article isn't clear if its a seperate network or shared with the free getting backbone service from Google.

Regarding the second half of that direct quote: San Franciscans should hope Google adheres to its "do no evil".

Re:Clarification (1)

taojing (849446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17503446)

That amount of money the city will realize under Google/Earthlink compared to their combined worth is a pittance of what they could make if they used the city-owned fiber network that is already installed and WiFi for the last mile. And they could throw in new computers for all of us to boot. Also, by using this model, the city would get to lease access to large bandwidth clients for 40-60% less than what commercial providers charge. The city is not in the business of making a profit. This would provide small startups with reduced overhead and maximize their venture-capitalist dollars to the real work at hand. The revenue would be far greater and would make the whole operation self-sufficient and provide the needed funds for digital inclusion which is the primary reason to do this in the first place as the Mayor pointed out. But, this Google-Earthlink plan is not interested in that. It is interested in profits and fleecing the residents in the most expensive place to live.

Privacy "agreement" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485786)

EarthLink will not share protected personal information (such as name, address, phone number, financial and medical profiles, and credit card information) without the consent of the user, except in the following cases:

To third party suppliers, provided that users may opt out of receiving marketing communications.

To law enforcement with court-ordered documentation for a criminal or national security investigation

In response to a civil legal demand, but only after reasonable prior notice to the user.

EarthLink shall provide Subscribers an opportunity to opt out of EarthLink's use of location information (i.e., information about the location of the user's computer or other device that is accessing the network) EarthLink shall retain Location Information no longer than 60 days.

Sign-in to the free service will require only minimal information, mainly for the purpose of protecting the network from abuse by "robot software" and other malicious programs.


Read carefully folks!

Re:Privacy "agreement" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485862)

Open to 3rd party "suppliers": name, address, phone number, financial and medical profiles, and credit card information. Of course you can opt out after the calls, letters and emails start arriving and you find out who you have to opt out to today. Curious as to how they intend to acquire your financial and medical profiles?

If the city had gotten them any real boost to privacy things would be opt in instead of opt out and signing up wouldn't be considered opt in and some of the stuff on this list would be strictly verbotten even with opt in.

Re:Privacy "agreement" (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17487302)

EarthLink and the provider of the free service will be required to fully disclose their privacy policy. This ensures that all users are aware of the privacy policies."
What it ensures is that users are overwhelmed with the amount of text and quickly click "Okay".

Re:Privacy "agreement" (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17492664)

FTA(S):
...protections that go far beyond what federal, state or local law requires.

Shit. Based on those terms, I'd hate to see what "federal, state or local law" require.

- RG>

More implementation details come out... (4, Funny)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485788)

"Recognizing the concerns expressed by electronic privacy advocates and community members, the City has negotiated an Agreement that addresses the privacy needs of our residents, negotiating terms stronger than any other City and incorporating protections that go far beyond what federal, state or local law requires. EarthLink and the provider of the free service will be required to fully disclose their privacy policy.

Earthlink guarantees your privacy by tossing 95% of your emails. Nobody will be able to reconstruct your conversations.

And your security is insured by having 30% of your packets dropped. This has been scientifically proven to reduce probing attacks by 30%.

Free to non-residents? (1)

Toddlerbob (705732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485836)

Maybe I'm dense or something, but I can't seem to find this anywhere in the plan: As a citizen of the East Bay and not San Francisco, would I be able to use the 300 kbs "free service" for free when I happen to be in the city?

Re:Free to non-residents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485852)

> As a citizen of the East Bay and not San Francisco, would I be able to use the 300 kbs "free service" for free when I happen to be in the city?

I doubt they're going to create accounts for every last resident of San Francisco, so I rather imagine the answer is yes.

Re:Free to non-residents? (2, Insightful)

tloh (451585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486034)

Heh, Why bother "happening" to be in the city at all? Point your Pringle yagi antenna [oreillynet.com] - powered wireless connection west across the bay and be a proud San Franciscan from the comfort of your own home. If I needed to, I know I would. But seriously, I'm wondering 2 things:

How tamper proof are they actually going to make this thing? If the policy is libral/versatile/friendly enough, they probably won't face *too* much circumvention attempts. But there will inevitably be a few bad apples intent upon being a pain in the ass for the service providers and ruin it to varying degrees for the rest of us.

What does this mean for the community run free wireless groups already operating in SF? With the uniqueness and value of their efforts decreased, will they fold and cease to exist? Would that loss of diversity and choice be harmful? Have the leaders/organizers of the project(s) come out with public statements regarding the deployment?

Re:Free to non-residents? (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486162)

Well, the stuff that's already operating will in no way be barred. (RTFA) Whether or not they have any reason to exist, however, is a different matter.

Re:Free to non-residents? (2, Informative)

FrenchSilk (847696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486090)

Did you RTFA? "A 300 Kbps free tier of service for use by all residents, businesses and visitors. This 300 Kbps tier is adequate for most basic Internet tasks such as web, email and even VoIP."

how could they stop me from using several "lines"? (1)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485850)

in theory at least, I could simply use several network cards with different mac adresses to get N x 300 kb/s , could I ?

anyway, let's hope they adhere to the terms of the picopeering agreement [1].

[1] http://www.picopeer.net/ [picopeer.net]

Re:how could they stop me from using several "line (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486086)

Of course you could and they couldn't do a thing about it, but im going to assume that they would each have to have a different ip, so each connection would be limited to 300 kb/s.

Maybe that would help if you were multitasking?

Re:how could they stop me from using several "line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17486116)

Or... running a torrent.

Earthlink, Google, Motorola and Tropos Networks (3, Interesting)

namityadav (989838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17485868)

If I remember correctly, Google will manage the free 300-kilobits-per-second Wi-Fi service, EarthLink will offer the faster premium service (1mbps and above), and Motorola and Tropos will provide the hardware / software for the mesh with the wireless service running at 2.4GHz and the mesh backbone at 5.8GHz

Must.....resist.....bad....joke..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17485994)

Im positively gay about it!

Elsewhere? (1)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486068)

So what's the news of this being implemented elsewhere? You can be sure that there are a lot of cities in the world that could use this just as much... New York City, for instance? I want to hear details of this idea sprouting up elsewhere.

Re:Elsewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17487092)

earthlink allready has wifi service in philadelphia, new orleans, and milpitas, CA. they're expanding to pasadena, alexandria, VA, and san francisco.

I am so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17486070)

insanely jealous.

Canadian liberal opinion.

Rogue **AA law-breakers (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486088)

Buy WiFi card without giving out your identity and use SF free network to get even with **AA

Still paying for cable (1, Insightful)

Belgand (14099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486250)

Personally I see the appeal, but it feels like this service will only be used in two ways: 1)people who want to use it to get online while wandering around town or to provide connectivity for ultra-portable devices (e.g. PDAs, DS, etc.) 2)low-income Internet availability. From the way I've heard it pushed (I haven't been to any of the community meetings so this is mainly what I've read online and in the Guardian) this is exactly the way they've been trying to sell it. Bleeding-hearts can claim that they're helping the poor get online while the rest of us will still pay for broadband at home and use it occasionally rather than paying some jackass coffee house to get access. Seriously, why do I almost only find places that want to charge me to get online? Hell, when I was in college elsewhere the local pizza place and a bunch of bars had wifi for free... it was just a smart move on behalf of businesses to spend $40 a month on broadband and install an access point just to grab extra business.

VOIP? (3, Interesting)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486292)

So, when do the telecom companies start bribing city officials to kill this project?
Free citywide Wifi would seem to me to be a deathblow for anyone currently selling
dialtone. Won't everyone just start using VOIP?

And just wait until VOIP enabled mobile handsets become commonplace...

It's sad. (1, Interesting)

lzmbr (906441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486336)

This 300 Kbps tier is adequate for most basic Internet tasks such as web, email and even VoIP

And here am I, in the third world, stuck with a 300k ADSL while paying a fortune for it.

Sometimes it's quite depressing to read Slashdot, you guys have high definition TVs, next-gen consoles, fast broadband services and free Wifi, while in this part of the world it's either not avaliable or too expensive. The Wii, for example, costs more than the equivalent of 1000 USD here.

Perhaps Google has any plans to extend this project worldwide? :)

Re:It's sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17486428)

Still on 56k here and many of my neighbors stuck with 28.8k and there is some major fiber pipes within six miles of me connecting Dallas hub to points east. The Bells have been ripping us off, we been paying for fiber [newnetworks.com] to the home for years. Though many yankees may well consider Texas 3rd world, this area is not alone in the US for being without broadband and I am not even sure you can say yet that even the majority in the US have broadband access and no I don't count satellite. Not to mention what we do have is slow relative to most broadband worldwide. For that matter, even before Katrina, there was a few cities in Louisiana that don't have phone access.

Re:It's sad. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17487948)

By population, the majority of the US has broadband(there are very few cities ~10000 in population that don't have decent cable at this point, and dsl makes sense even smaller). By geography, some tiny minority of the US has broadband access. Even if you leave off Alaska. And probably Texas and Montana.

Re:It's sad. (2, Interesting)

DECS (891519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486450)

Sorry your ADSL is expensive.

I pay $1100 a month to share a basic 2 BR flat in SF, and going out to eat somewhere basic typically costs $20/person unless drinks are involved. If my motorcycle gets ticketed for being parked on the sidewalk, it's $100. People commonly pay $200 a month for a garage, or being careful, you can park on the street and pay the inevitable $250 in tickets every quarter.

WiFi won't be free in SF until the City approves the plan and it actually gets built. While the plan drags along, I pay $50/ month for 1.5 Mbit ADSL.

When I go on vacation, my biggest expense is paying my rent while I'm away, but it's almost worth it to be able to come home from vacation and know I'm still somewhere people travel to visit. Oh, by the way, it's fairly expensive to be a tourist here, too.

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

Re:It's sad. (2, Interesting)

alphafoo (319930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17492048)

Funny this should come up today. I have been without my ADSL here in SF for nearly a week now, and in fact have not even had dial tone for two days. So the $50/month has felt even more expensive than usual. In fact, I just got down from the roof, where I was hanging out with the ATT/PacBell/Yahoo/YouNameIt tech. He told me it was my lucky day--- he was going to replace the dry-rotted wiring with wire that would conduct a signal, thus re-establishing my dial-tone and my DSL. I asked him why it was lucky that he was replacing the wire, when it seemed to be his job to do just that sort of thing. He said that I am responsible for the wire because it's inside wiring. I mentioned that the wire on the roof was coming in from the street and was quite outside, where it either baked in the sun or sat in a puddle when it rained. He assured me that this was considered inside wire, and not the telco's problem. But what a fun week I've had with tech support.

Tech Support: Hi, what's the problem, sir?
Me: There seems to be a line issue. I can ping my ADSL router but can't ping outside that. The sync light also indicates a line issue.
TS: Yes, sir. I can help you with that. Are you using a Mac or Windows?
Me: Um. Mac.
TS: Sir, all our Mac representatives are busy. Try calling back tomorrow.
Me: WAIT! No! You see, I think the problem is independent of the computer I am using.
TS: I am happy to help you, sir. What browser are you using?
Me: Um. Firefox.
TS: Well sir, as I mentioned, all our Mac representatives are busy. Try calling back tomorrow.
Me: Wait...ah...I might actually be using a Windows machine. Computers are hard. Now what?
TS: Oh, in that case we need to determine which version of Windows you are running....
Me: Wait, stop. Can you see my router from where you are?
TS: {pause} No sir, there is no signal at all on the line.
Me: Ok, so can you imagine a situation where my browser or my computer would have any effect on the actual phone line?
TS: Sir, I would be happy to help you, but you see, all our Mac representatives are busy.

and so on...

Google, please hurry!

Re:It's sad. (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17492348)

Ouch, the best thing I've found is to lie to these type of retards.. "yes.. yes.. I'm running windows XP home"

This is also why I have speakeasy service.. when i call them, they answer the phone, understand what traceroute is, and don't ask me stupid questions.

Of course, I have to pay a crapton ($100/month) for this level of service. Thankfully my job lets me expense most of that.

Re:It's sad. (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17487166)

Fear not, all of these 15M/2M FTTP guys on /. are in the cherry picked areas of the country. Most of the US is still on dialup. I define most as "more than 50% of landmass," and I'd bet a dollar that it's closer to 70-80% of landmass, but I'm not going to try and look it up.

Until just two years ago, I was ten miles from a major university with several GB/s of bandwidth (may be tens of GB, for all I know) and when I called the local telco and cableco inquiring about "high speed internet" they were excited to tell me that they had high speed internet - they'd just upgraded more than half of their modem pool to 56kb! By the time I left there, they had a 768/128kb ADSL that I badgered them into extending to my house (about 20,000 ft from the CO), where I got 680/65kb. And a bargain at $45/mo. Note that this is not some university in the middle of nowhere, as we're less than 250 miles from Washington, D.C. Now I'm "in town" and can get better DSL, or cable if I don't mind being down for 10-15% of the time (fuck you Adephia). Ten years ago they were all going to have 10bT to the houses thanks to the University, but I can only guess that Adelphia and Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) squashed that pretty quickly.

Re:It's sad. (1)

rholland356 (466635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17511064)

And here am I, in the third world, stuck with a 300k ADSL while paying a fortune for it. Sometimes it's quite depressing to read Slashdot, you guys have high definition TVs, next-gen consoles, fast broadband services and free Wifi, while in this part of the world it's either not avaliable or too expensive. The Wii, for example, costs more than the equivalent of 1000 USD here.
Dude, you third-worlders are getting our jobs (we can't export them fast enough!), so very soon after you may have all the tech goodies that go with those jobs.

Multilink for greater speed (1)

GroovinWithMrBloe (832127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486462)

I imagine a few dedicated people will attempt a poor mans multi link and have multiple connections to the wifi network. Just set up a load balancing virtual IP as your gateway and hey presto. Would boost their speed quite nicely (Sure, you won't get more than 300kb/s on a single connection, but if you use a download manager then it wouldn't matter).

Re:Multilink for greater speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17494548)

Even if you have 6 cards and 6 connections going you'll only have 1.8 megabit. Considering this is citywide I doubt they'll care if 0.1% of their million users is using 0.6% of the bandwidth. Unless there are wifi cards smart enough to virtualise the actual connections so you can run 150 sessions (with 150 MAC addresses) on one card?

"fully disclose their privacy policy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17487126)

What on earth does "fully disclose their privacy policy" mean? Shouldn't they be doing that anyway? Is the alternative that they have a privacy policy that nobody knows about? Either way, prepare to be tracked, have all your moves sold to advertisers and given gratis to the government!

Free Wifi In MI (1)

Gloper (1047698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17487712)

I live in oakland county in MI, and by the end of the year they will provide free Wifi across the whole county. I love it as after it becomes avalable I won't have to choose between a phone line I don't want (to get DSL) or Cable I don't need (for Cable modem) just to get online. I'll be able to save well over 50$ a month. Fyi where I am we have ONE phone provider, and ONE cable provider. More info about wireless oakland can be found here http://www.oakgov.com/wireless/ [oakgov.com]

How does this work? (1)

MilesNaismith (951682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17489522)

This has been YEARS now they have been talking about this. When will results appear? How do they propose to limit individual WiFi users? It is very vague. Limit you by MAC? A Muni-WiFi is going to have BIG problems with their coverage. I work with a small neighborhood WISP and I know there are certain locations we abandoned trying to cover, because they are already jam-packed with other AP's, cordless phones, baby monitors, and other interference sources. If gov't wanted to REALLY improve internet access for the "common man" they would mandate "naked DSL" offerings, and remove the 57 taxes & fees layered on every bill. Or even subsidize it.

low-income residents? (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17492756)

Get a 50% discount...

Umm, shouldnt they be worrying more about food and housing and paying off their dealer/pimp/etc then buying computers playing on the internet ?
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