It seems that Google has officially submitted a bid to the city of San Francisco to build a city-wide free wireless Internet service. Om Malik broke the story late yesterday, noting:
Google officials say San Francisco residents (and visitors) will enjoy a free 300 kilobits per second, always on connection anywhere in the city. As part of its proposal, the company says it will be offering wholesale access to other service providers, who will offer higher throughput connections to their customers. Google says it plans to use its own authentication services. (That explains the Google WiFi VPN client to some extent). The company is going to use San Diego-based WFI, a cellular network builder company to build out the WiFi network.
There have been rumblings about this for weeks, and people claim to have discovered test networks in other cities too. So upon hearing the news, the first thing I thought was that Google is going to fulfill my vision of wireless everywhere by building free wifi networks in cities around the world! Not so, according to a New York Times article on the story published earlier today:
“Offering a free service like this is a great way to support the Bay Area,” said Chris Sacca, a new-business development executive at Google. “We don’t have any plans outside of the Bay Area.”
While that kind of sucks, I am not holding my breath. I am sure if they see any value in providing the service at all, they’d reconsider opening it to other cities too. And even if that doesn’t turn out to be the case, perhaps other companies will take a cue from Google and build their own networks.
Read: CNET News.com