Sunday, July 29, 2007


A recent announcement by Earthlink (passed along by public watchdog Kimo Crossman) spells an end to San Francisco’s “Free” WiFi charade.

Basically, Earthlink says they can’t make a profit from the kind of contract that is being negotiated with San Francisco. For Earthlink to make money from “free” municipal WiFi they need the municipality itself to a sign long-term contract to use Earthlink services. Earthlink calls such a municipality an “anchor tenant.”

Earthlink's announcement makes the entire process look like a bad faith effort, possibly on the parts of both Mayor Newsom and Earthlink, to sign a quickie contract and work out the (expensive) details later.

Newsom wanted a cool-sounding resume item. A number of public-commenters hauled in to a Supes Committee meeting said they needed “WiFive,” which sounds cooler yet.

With the Earthlink deal all but defunct, we’ll see if our mayor has a Plan-B for bridging the digital divide.

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janinsanfran said...

Know anyone using this Meraki "Free the Net" thing? It's growing in the Mission. Doesn't work for me, but does for many.

sfwillie said...

Hi Jan,

I'm not doing any mobile computing. My interest in the issue is purely good govt. Here's a link Kimo sent along to a story on Meraki.