San Francisco Turns Free Wi-Fi Into Long Battle

San Francisco residents may have to wait longer to get free WiFi access. Although Mayor Gavin Newsom signed the contract with Google and EarthLink, building the network has yet to start as the Board of Supervisors refused to consider the contract and is now studying how to convert the facility into a city-run public utility. Under the proposal by EarthLink and Google, the firms will put up a Wi-Fi network that would offer two types of service, a free but ad-supported plan and one that is paid without ads for $21.95 a month. In addition, San Francisco will receive payment from the companies in exchange for the installation of signal-beaming antennas on its light poles.

EarthLink has better luck in Anaheim, California, where its paid wireless service now blankets 40 percent of the city and is expected to provide full coverage by fall this year. Unlike in San Francisco, it received very few complaints, only three were recorded, of which two came from those that are not part of the coverage yet, according to city spokesman John Nicoletti.
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