The city of San Francisco has had its ups and downs with a citywide Wi-Fi system and still there is no system in sight. Google has most recently entered the fray, at least peripherally.
Meraki, Google funded start up, claims it can cover the city with Wi-Fi for a fraction of the current plan’s costs, won’t require any commitment from the city, and they will use hardware that is more reliable than Earthlink. So far the company has set up internet access points across the city that have been hit by approximately 7000 different machines. They’re now hoping to expand their coverage to the rest of the city.
Rather than following Earthlink’s expensive and flawed system of placing access points on light poles, Meraki relies on volunteers who place transmitters in their windows and allow neighbors to piggy back on the service, in fact some people are actually providing access to their own DSL connections.
All of the kinks aren’t worked out of the system, but it looks as if Meraki’s neighborly approach may be the solution to San Francisco’s internet woes.