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Google is making a bid to build a San Francisco-wide free wifi network, according to company officials. The company today filed documents in response to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s request for information for the city wide network. Google’s WiFi plans were first reported by Business […]

Google is making a bid to build a San Francisco-wide free wifi network, according to company officials. The company today filed documents in response to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s request for information for the city wide network. Google’s WiFi plans were first reported by Business 2.0 magazine as part of the GoogleNet article. The company says if its bid is approved, then it is willing to start the work on the network within weeks.

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.

The company proposes to build a network using third party hardware. Google officials say, its free WiFi plans are restricted only to San Francisco. The company does offer free wifi access in Mountain View and New York’s Bryant Park.

“San Francisco will be a true test bed for location based services and applications,” says Chris Sacca, principal of new business development at Google. While the initial use of location-based services might be limited to more-focussed and targeted advertising, the potential of location-based services is immense, officials said. Sacca pointed out that the network bid was in line with Google’s thinking on delivering answers anytime anywhere to anyone, and looking beyond a desktop PC.

When asked if this puts the company in direct conflict with incumbents like SBC and Comcast, Sacca replied, “I think a few months ago, we might have thought that, but we have talked to them and it seems the thinking is evolving amongst other last mile providers.”

I wonder how it impacts others who want to get involved with the muniwireless space? The Google Talk implications on a free network are quite far reaching, if you ask me, but then that’s just me.

  1. Interconnected Events

    Earlier today Om Malik announced that he was going to take the rest of the day off. Finally I would be able to rest assured that I was not going to have to read any not-yet-announced technical news; he has been scooping just about everyone on what seems

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  2. Google offers a nice birthday present to Om Malik

    Essentially confirming a story Om had been writing about for a long time: the GoogleNet. According to this latest piece: Google officials say San Francisco residents (and visitors) will enjoy a free 300 kilobits per second, always on connection anywher…

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  3. Freies WLAN von Google für San Francisco

    Google plant offensichtlich ein San-Francisco-weites öffentliches WLAN:Google officials say San Francisco residents (and visitors) will enjoy a free 300 kilobits per second, always on connection anywhere in the city. Das erklärt auch den VPN-Client, …

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  4. Google: San Fran will enjoy free 300kps wif-fi anywhere in the city

    Om Malik has some very interesting news:

    breaking…. Google is making a bid to build a San
    Francisco-wide…

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  5. Has Google just increased the value of every property in SF?

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  6. [...] Om Malik is reporting on his Broadband Blog that Google has filed documents with the city proposing to build a free wifi network in San Francisco. Amazing news and it dovetails nicely with earlier reports of Google wanting to build its own GoogleNet of wifi acces across America. The search giant wants to sell location-based advertising on their service. Other service providers will be able to buy bandwidth wholesale to sell at higher throughput. [...]

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  7. OM pretty slick work I should say. You are the un-official PR man for Google. So do we see Google Phone in SFO , hand held with Google Talk that allows you to touch base pretty much with anybody on your contact list. Perhaps sounds very far-fetched, but definitely is a possibility.

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  8. [When asked if this puts the company in direct conflict with incumbents like SBC and Comcast, Sacca replied, “I think a few months ago, we might have thought that, but we have talked to them and it seems the thinking is evolving amongst other last mile providers.â€?]

    Hmm, so what does the Sacca quote mean? Are they competing with SBC and Comcast or not?

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  9. Google’s WiFi plans for SF

    We know a bit more tonight about Google’s WiFi plans. Google was one of a bunch of companies that submitted proposals to the city of San Francisco tonight – the deadline was 5 p.m. – to build a community broadband network. Google’s service would be …

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  10. [...] Google offers S.F. Wi-Fi — for free Company’s bid is… [SFGate.com] Google Confirms Free San Francisco WiFi Plans [Om Malik’s broadband blog] Tag: Web | Posted on 10.01.05 9:08 am | [...]

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