More than 100,000 have used Meraki's Free the Net

meraki VentureBeat is reporting today that more than 100,000 people in the San Francisco area have used Meraki’s Free the Net WiFi service. That’s good news for the city, considering the much-talked about Earthlink service was abandoned. Maybe the business model is the reason:

Unlike Earthlink, Meraki isn’t seeking the city government’s financial support or approval, and it isn’t looking to make money from the network, either. Instead, [Chief Executive Sanjit Biswas] describes Free the Net as a “testbed” and showcase for the company’s wireless technology, which Meraki then sells elsewhere.

The company also runs local ads, but apparently doesn’t make any money from them.

Wireless is something I hope to talk more about at the upcoming BarCampEdmonton1. I would love to see a wireless service in Edmonton with over 100,000 users. I think the Meraki approach (not relying on the government) is probably the best way to accomplish that.

My friend Eric is going to be enabling WiFi at BarCampEdmonton1, so if you’re interested in learning more about how Meraki and Open Mesh work, definitely come down and ask some questions! We’d love to show you how it works.

And if you’d like to help expand the network in Edmonton, check out wirelessedmonton.ca.

Anaheim goes wireless

Post ImageAnd I thought the biggest news in Anaheim was that the Mighty Ducks are now known as the Ducks! But nope, it’s not. The latest city to embrace my mantra is indeed Anaheim, which announced the new wireless network today with a ceremonial cable cutting:

Curt Pringle, the mayor of Anaheim, cut a thick blue cable with giant scissors in front of a quiet lunchtime crowd Thursday as this Los Angeles suburb joined the growing list of American cities that have launched a citywide wireless Internet network.

Anaheim is EarthLink’s first citywide network, but certainly not the last. EarthLink has signed on to provide San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans and five other cities with municipal Internet access.

This one is different than most you may have heard about, as no free service will be made available. Instead, residents can pay $21.95 per month for access, and visitors to the area (such as the millions who visit Disneyland) can buy smaller amounts of access.

Still, this is great news for those of us who want wireless to be ubiquitous.

Read: CNET News.com