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Googlitarianism Born In San Fran WiFi

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-10-17

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Who knew you could fill in that "great digital divide" and make money at the same time? Well, red light webmasters aside (that's a different divide altogether), Google's philosophical explanation provided to San Francisco's Request For Information expresses the desire to lessen the class struggles of humanity through free wireless access for all.

Of course, free access doesn't mean fast access-but adequate at least. Google's proposal to San Fran includes an offering of 300 Kbps for everyone within radio shot of the search company's 1900 lampposts and buildings. That free 300 Kbps should reach all of the city's 49 square miles, two or three floors up. The Internet-less huddled masses above that will have to share with their downstairs neighbors or shell out some dough to purchase customer premise equipment (CPE) to boost their connectivity.

"Combining Wi-Fi with Google technology gives us the ability to offer a citywide online access network that will be free to anyone, anywhere, anytime - clearly the emerging and necessary ideal as humanity continues to cross this great digital divide," reads Google's Executive Summary on the matter.

To cut a long summary short, all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of a Google WiFi signal. Though a man has the right to Internet access, he does not, necessarily, have a right to really fast Internet access. A 2-3 Mbps connection can and will cost extra, and will be offered among other "potential premium services."

The free access along with the premium access will be (if approved by the City and County of San Francisco) provided via open radio standards including 802.11b and 802.11n, brought to you by the new and improved AdWords, delivering affordable targeted advertising for "mom and pop local shops" to users within a few block radius.

Don't bother slipping out of your pumps so Mom and Pop won't hear you plodding down the sidewalk, Google has already indexed your movements and knows where you're going to be anyway-whether you decide to buy the muffin or not.

The project is spearheaded by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President of Products, who plans to team up with San Diego-based Wireless Facilities, Inc. (WFI) for design and deployment services of the network.

Google's proposal to build San Francisco's wireless network is met by no fewer than 16 competitors, including Mountain View next-door neighbor MetroFi, according to the Mercury News (a news source that really likes pop up ads, apparently (though Firefox has dutifully blocked them for me)). Excuse the parenthetical references (.)

SearchEngineWatch provides the downloadable documents, if you feel especially like numbing your brain with bureaucracy today.

For related philosophical fun, check out John Stuart Mill.

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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