Google Offers San Fran Free Wi-Fi

Google has come in with the lowest bid for the contract to provide universal wireless Internet access to the entire city of San Francisco: free.

Google offers S.F. Wi-Fi — for free / Company’s bid is one of many in response to mayor’s call for universal online access

Google Inc. has offered to blanket San Francisco with free wireless Internet access at no cost to the city, placing a marquee name behind Mayor Gavin Newsom’s effort to get all residents online whether they are at home, in a park or in a cafe.

The offer by the popular Mountain View search engine was one of more than a dozen competing bids received by the city before its deadline Friday. Officials will review the submissions and decide which, if any, of the candidates gets the green light to build the so called Wi-Fi service, which would be free or inexpensive for users.

In joining the competition, Google is showing yet another sign of its ambition. In the past few months, the company has released a succession of new products, including instant messaging and Internet telephone calls, that take it further from its roots.

The proposal raises speculation that Google intends to create a free national Wi-Fi network, a business in which the company has limited experience. If so, it could pose a serious challenge to existing Internet service providers such as SBC-Yahoo, Earthlink, Comcast and America Online, which charge subscriptions for wire connections.

“This is a great opportunity to provide a community service to the Bay Area,” said Chris Sacca, who oversaw Google’s bid in San Francisco. “This furthers the goal of providing access to all residents and visitors on as wide a scale as possible.”

This will be a hard offer to turn down.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Scott in CA says:

    Oh, no, you don’t get it. Here in SF, the city “government” will have to investigate whether or not Google has hired a “sufficient” number of “people of color”, and correct amount of women managers, a significant amount of “differently abled” managers, etc. They will also have to make sure that Google does not do business with the 1,574,049 companies that are being boycotted by San Francisco due to various politically incorrect positions. It could take years just to get through the “public input” meetings.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Scott sounds like an AOL & dialup guy…

  3. Scott in CA says:

    Hardly. I have Comcast and do just fine, thanks. But I work for the City of SF, and I know quite well how they work.

  4. anjin-san says:

    Why do you work for an organization you have so much contempt for? Doing just fine, I guess…

  5. Scott in CA says:

    Because they pay me really, really well. Why else would I work here?

  6. Scott in CA says:

    Look, I disagree with many of the policies here. So what? They pay me a lot of money to write policy I disagree with. Is this news to you? Have you every been told to do/write/say somthing you don’t agree with to make your living? I do it all the time. I don’t care about the policy at this end…I have no means to change it. I am only trying to put out my two cents.

  7. RJN says:

    Am I alone in thinking that a Google search is becoming less useful? Perhaps I should say less pertinent to one’s desire when he initiates a search.

  8. bryan says:

    “This is a great opportunity to provide a community service to the Bay Area,” said Chris Sacca, who oversaw Google’s bid in San Francisco. “This furthers the goal of providing access to all residents and visitors on as wide a scale as possible.”

    Are they going to provide all residents with computers with wireless network cards too?

  9. McGehee says:

    Scott, never mind Anjin-san. Apparently James needs to spray a little more Lysol around here, is all.