Google donates $600,000 to fund San Francisco Wi-Fi network

By on July 25, 2013, 9:30 AM
google, internet, san francisco, wi-fi, united states, donation, google fiber

San Francisco may be the go-to place for all things technological; however, when it comes to internet connectivity, the city is surprisingly under-equipped. That is, until now. Google has donated $600,000 to replace the city's outdated connections with an extensive free Wi-Fi network in public areas and parks.

The money will be divided amongst 31 locations in the Bay area, with the search giant covering the cost of the equipment, installation, and maintenance. Ed Lee, the Mayor of San Francisco, explained, “We are behind. I call us the innovation capital of the world but we need to catch up. This is where the relationship with the private sector is so important to us.”

Interestingly, this is not the first time that a free Wi-Fi service has been proposed. Back in 2007, a similar venture was to be carried out by San Francisco officials in collaboration with Google and EarthLink. Unfortunately, the deal failed to materialize due to political intervention and a number of privacy concerns.  The public also feared that the partnering tech companies were motivated by profit alone; a scenario that the Board of Supervisors desperately wanted to avoid.

Six years later, these worries have been laid to rest. Google has made similar donations in the past, earning themselves a favorable reputation. They have recently setup wireless networks across Boston and New York, and most notably, the company launched Google Fiber to Kansas City just a year ago. This lightning-fast network boasts speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, which is roughly 100 times faster than the standard internet services available to most US residents today.

Officially dubbed the “Free Wi-Fi in The Parks” program, the Google donation should provide enough capital to run the system for nearly two years. After this time has passed, it will be the city’s responsibility to fund and maintain the existing infrastructure.

The free Wi-Fi program is coming to the following locations: Alamo Square, Balboa Park, Bernal Heights Recreation Center, Boeddeker Park, Chinese Recreation Center, Civic Center Plaza, Corona Heights, Crocker Amazon Playground, Duboce Park, Eureka Valley Rec Center, Gene Friend Rec Center/Soma, Hamilton Rec Center, Huntington Park, Joseph Lee Recreation Center, Justin Herman Plaza, Margaret Hayward, Marina Green, Minnie & Lovie Ward Rec Center, Mission Dolores Park, Mission Rec Center, Palega Recreation Center, Portsmith Square, Richmond Recreation Center, St Mary's Rec Center, St Mary's Square, Sue Bierman Park, Sunnyside Playground, Sunset Playground, Tenderloin Children's Rec Center, Upper Noe Recreation Center, and Washington Square.




User Comments: 6

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MilwaukeeMike said:

So... in 2007 Google offers some free internet and the people say no because they 'desperately want to avoid' a scenario where a company was motivated by profit. So 6 years go by, the city starts to fall behind while Google setups networks in other cities. Now Google offers again and the mayor's answer is 'This is where the relationship with the private sector is so important to us.'

So maybe companies making money isn't such a bad thing after all... who knew?

To be fair, in 2007 there weren't cities in CA going bankrupt and today there are. It's a good thing the politicians realized that as 'evil' as making money may be in their minds, it is what drives how much tax revenue the govt receives.

I think SF sounds like the coolest and most annoying place to live at the same time.

Fbarnett Fbarnett said:

Why give the Freaks of SAN FRAN anything ? All they do is complain and b^%ch about everything. Look at ll the dumb rules and laws they have. Givethe money to a community that would appreciate it

MilwaukeeMike said:

Why give the Freaks of SAN FRAN anything ? All they do is complain and b^%ch about everything. Look at ll the dumb rules and laws they have. Givethe money to a community that would appreciate it

Two reasons most likely... SF has water on three sides and it's a relatively small city geographically compared to the others in CA. That makes it easy to cover with wi-fi. It's also a very short drive from Palo Alto (where Google's Headquarters is) so there are probably a lot of Google employees who live in SF.

Guest said:

Fbarnett said:

Why give the Freaks of SAN FRAN anything ? All they do is complain and b^%ch about everything. Look at ll the dumb rules and laws they have. Givethe money to a community that would appreciate it

I take it you lived in "SAN FRAN" before since you speak so ill about it. Every city has "dumb" rules and laws that never pleases.

Google isn't just going to go in blind and set up shop with out knowing the dollar value of future return. 600,000 could bring 10 times that (I obviously have no data to back that up) in a short time.

BTW, who doesn't want free wifi?

1 person liked this | FLWrd said:

I also wonder: why donate $600k to bloody public WiFi infrastructure? Aren't there any nobler goals?

Satki said:

So... in 2007 Google offers some free internet and the people say no because they 'desperately want to avoid' a scenario where a company was motivated by profit. So 6 years go by, the city starts to fall behind while Google setups networks in other cities. Now Google offers again and the mayor's answer is 'This is where the relationship with the private sector is so important to us.'

So maybe companies making money isn't such a bad thing after all... who knew?

To be fair, in 2007 there weren't cities in CA going bankrupt and today there are. It's a good thing the politicians realized that as 'evil' as making money may be in their minds, it is what drives how much tax revenue the govt receives.

I think SF sounds like the coolest and most annoying place to live at the same time.

And just think of all the wireless traffic google can harvest for private data!

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