Google Wi-Fi in San Francisco?

Oct 1st

SF Gate has an article about Google proposing to offer free Wifi to SF. The interesting bits:

Sacca said that Google, which makes virtually all its money from online advertising, had yet to determine whether it would include ads in the service. But Google said it would make its Wi-Fi network available for a fee to companies that want to offer paid Internet services. Sacca said there were no plans to share any revenue with the city.

Of course there will be ads...they will promote Google out of the deal...and ads are all that drive their business model :)

SBC thinks the city is already fairly well covered:

SBC spokesman John Britton said his company encourages competition but believes that governments should seek greater investment from private companies to increase broadband service. He said San Francisco already was served by SBC and enjoyed more than 400 free Wi-Fi hotspots, more than any other city in the country.

Earthlink does not like the Google idea:

"We've looked into free service, and we haven't found a model where free works," said Berryman. "At some point free becomes less sustainable because there's no way to upgrade service and the networks when no one's paying for it."

No surprise Google's competitors think Google doing free Wi-Fi is both unnecissary and unsustainable. Of course it's competitors do not have the largest database of human intentions and the largest ad network in the world.

Some think San Francisco is a bad test city because of it's rough terrain, but that - along with it being a tech culture mecca - is probably a good reason to use it as a test city. If you can get it to work there it should be no problem to get it to work elsewhere.

Others also made bids on the project, but Google is getting the press. How many business models Google kills before they are done achieving their goal? How far will public officials let Google control the information streams when other companies worth a few hundred billion dollars may go under if Google does everything they want?

Whether or not you like Google, you have to admit that in many fields they raise the bar on the competition, but I don't think it is good for anyone if one company is too dominant in the web - and Google seems to be making ALL the right moves thusfar.

Published: October 1, 2005

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