For about $6 million Earthlink will deploy a wireless network in San Francisco after coming to terms with the City of San Francisco. Google is also involved. Google will provide free access to the network at low transmission speeds. Earthlink and others will charge a monthly fee of $21.95 and $12.95 for about 3,200 low-income residents, which begs a tangential question, “Are there only 3,200 low income residents left in San Francisco?”
The network will be privately owned by Earthlink, which was a major source of contention. Many were concerned that the city should own the network and had other fears of privacy protection from Earthlink and Google, who will now provide additional privacy protection disclosing their policies fully.
For skeptics of the free service, users will not have to look at advertising any more than is normal on the internet already. At just $6 million for deployment this might be the cheapest project launched by the city providing the biggest return.