Free Wi-Fi Coming Soon to Cortlandia

CortlandWifi

San Francisco is moving ahead with a program that will install free WiFi networks at 31 locations around the City, and the Bernal Heights Recreation Center just off Cortland was selected as one of the free hotspots. If all goes according to plan, the service will be operational by Spring 2014.

The free service comes courtesy of Google, and the San Francisco Chronicle provides the background:

Six years after a deal to blanket the city fell apart, Supervisor Mark Farrell and Google will announce a plan Wednesday to bring public wireless Internet access, on the technology company’s dime, to parks, recreation centers and plazas across San Francisco. The $600,000 gift from Google will cover the costs of the equipment, installation and maintenance of wireless capabilities for two years.

It will allow residents to work from Mission Dolores Park, let visitors download information to their mobile devices in Civic Center Plaza and make it easier for parents to sign their children up for recreation programs at centers from the Excelsior district to Bernal Heights, Chinatown, the Marina and the Sunset District. In some of those areas, it may be the easiest place to find Internet access, Farrell said.

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8 Responses to Free Wi-Fi Coming Soon to Cortlandia

  1. And will Google be mining all the traffic to feed their data beast? I don’t necessarily mind if they do, but I’d like to know.

  2. I fear our parks starting to look like Ritual coffee roasters…all PDAs (personal data devices) and no PDAs (public displays of affection).

  3. davidkaye says:

    Funny. The Bay Area Wireless Users’ Group has been providing free wi-fi in SF for almost a decade. It’s a volunteer group. They have microwave distribution from various mountaintops to 802.11 wireless routers on light poles around SF. In fact I’m looking at one out my window at this very moment. They don’t charge anything, but provide this connectivity as a public service. I’d beware of connecting to anything Google. You never know what personal data Google will steal from you.

  4. Rusty H says:

    I read that this is just a donation of equipment and installation, that the internet connection will actually come from the city (which runs a fiber and wireless network around the city). Via @michaelmccarthy on twitter who does network stuff for the city: “Google is paying for radios and installation of wifi at 31 Rec Ctrs.It is a gift and they will have no acces to radios or any city asset.“ https://twitter.com/michaelmccarthy/status/360134418653904897

    My guess is this is just a PR thing, maybe to make Google seem more like they care about the city, rather than just use it as fancy housing for their employees.

  5. Rusty H says:

    What is the SSID for Bay Area Wireless Users’ Group? How is the bandwidth costs funded?

    • davidkaye says:

      I learned about it from Tim Pozar who helped establish it due to his connections in broadcast engineering. This allowed him access to mountaintops around the Bay Area. The original group was called BAWUG, or Bay Area Wireless Users Group. I have used one node called TI-Wireless on Treasure Island. It also is/was active near the SF Zoo, but I don’t remember what the SSID for that one is/was. I’m not sure the bandwidth, but I believe they’re interconnected with the Internet Archive. Unfortunately, the bawug.org domain name has been reused by someone else, so I couldn’t get any info from there. But as of the last time I used the ti-wireless wi-fi, about 6 months ago, it was still active. I believe it may have been set up to give free service to low-income folks.

  6. Rusty H says:

    Confirmed that it will be going out over SF’s community broadband network. Which currently uses 1gb connection from the Internet Archive. So no traffic via Google. Sounds like a win. https://twitter.com/michaelmccarthy/status/361938858931269633

  7. Judge Crater says:

    Google already knows about you.

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