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Google/Earthlink Wins San Francisco Wifi Contract

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San Francisco’s city panel has chosen a Google/Earthlink partnership to build a free municipal wifi network for the city.

The network, which will cost an estimated $15 million to build, will offer free ad-supported service via Google and $20/month faster service from Earthlink. Earthlink’s service will be four to five times faster than Google’s, and, naturally, be ad-free.

From the AP:

The joint proposal from EarthLink and Google prevailed over five other finalists: Communication Bridge Global; NextWLAN; Razortooth Communications LLP; MetroFi and SF Metro Connect, a partnership that includes SeaKay, Cisco Systems Inc. and IBM Corp.

The city’s five-member review panel ranked the EarthLink-Google package as the best deal for San Francisco, followed by MetroFi and the partnership that included Cisco and IBM, said Chris Vein, director of the city’s technology department.

Expect sales of wifi VOIP/Skype phones to go through the roof in San Francisco, as citizens realize they can eliminate landlines and cell phones while within the city limits.

New York City, which has spent the better part of three decades convincing companies that it is prohibitive to do business in NYC, and is consistent in its approach of poorly utilizing cost-saving technologies, has stated that it would prefer to struggle to beat budget deficits than have a thriving, tech-industry supported city.

Okay, that last part isn’t true, but what is wrong with this city?! We have a pretty bad “digital divide” of our own, and tech companies that come to New York have been known to basically get cancer the moment they set up shop. Could we at least try to compete with SF and Seattle?

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.

Google/Earthlink Wins San Francisco Wifi Contract
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