Google WiFi Plans Meet Politics

    October 19, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

It sounds like Google’s Chris Sacca didn’t have a lot of fun at a public discussion of Google and Earthlink plans for wireless broadband in San Francisco.

Google WiFi Plans Meet Politics
Even Google Has To Talk To Brick Walls

Something for nothing, in this case free WiFi for San Francisco, has drawn its share of contentious debate. That ratcheted up a notch at a town hall meeting in the city, where the process to deploy the WiFi solution by year’s end appears to be in jeopardy.

Davis Freeberg’s first-hand account of the meeting has received some attention today. Freeberg is not real pleased with what he saw taking place:

Despite the announcement made last April free WiFi instead has turned out to be vaporware thus far with Google and Earthlink discovering that dealing with the local San Francisco political scene is about as fun as being set up on a blind date with Mike Tyson after being rubbed down in meat sauce.

By Freeberg’s account, it looks like Sacca got the Heinz 57 treatment before being fed to a Tysonesque sideshow:

I did get to see Chris Sacca from Google face a parade of activist oddballs who neither understood technology nor the positive social impact that free wifi could bring to some of the city’s most disadvantaged citizens.

At the meeting, Sacca did an excellent job or remaining calm and explaining the technology in language that anyone could understand, still these local political gadflies seemed to feel that EarthLink and Google providing free WiFi to the citizens was akin to killing kittens because, they attacked Sacca with a venom that was absolutely shocking.

Freeberg noted a handful of the zanier requests from citizens, like asking Sacca about providing transportation for kids in Google busses to and from the San Francisco Zoo.

Spirited participation in politics is sadly lacking throughout the majority of the United States. There can be too much of it, especially when it goes beyond prudent oversight of government activity to hindering what would be Google and Earthlink providing a public service while funding it themselves.

Techdirt summed it up by suggesting, “Perhaps it’s time to start over with a real plan that serves a real need, rather than a pet project that makes a politician look good.” Maybe that is what it will take.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.