Thanks to Google, denizens of San Francisco will now be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi in 31 parks and public spaces as early as this November. Google has gifted San Francisco with $600,000 to purchase equipment, cover installation and maintenance costs for the free Wi-Fi hotspots. The “Free Wi-Fi In The Parks” program will not only allow the masses to escape their offices and work in public spaces, but will serve as a pilot program for an eventual free city-wide Wi-Fi network.
Back in 2007, the city of San Francisco in conjunction with Earthlink and Google made an attempt to develop a city-wide free Wi-Fi network, but the project did not come to fruition due to contract disagreements. Government officials were concerned about the companies involved profiting off of the free service. The new program does not include any way for Google to directly profit off of the service, although they will no doubt be able to rack up a nice amount of money off of ads and other services.
“We are behind. I call us the innovation capital of the world but we need to catch up. This is where the relationship with the private sector is so important to us.” – San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
After the initial Google seed money is exhausted, which is expected to occur in two years, it will be the city of San Francisco’s responsibility to maintain and operate the network. Mayor Lee has proposed tapping local businesses and tech companies to help fund the program after the two years is up. Installations are expected to begin this November, with a full roll-out expected by April 2014.
So San Francisco residents, get ready to pack your laptop alongside that Pabst 12 pack when heading for a sun-filled day at Dolores Park. A full list of SF parks that will offer free Wi-Fi from the SF Chronicle follows below:
Alamo Square, Balboa Park, Bernal Heights Recreation Center, Boeddeker Park, Chinese Recreation Center, Civic Center Plaza, Corona Heights, Crocker Amazon Playground, Duboce Park, Eureka Valley Recreation Center, Gene Friend Recreation Center, Hamilton Recreation Center, Huntington Park, Joseph Lee Recreation Center, Justin Herman Plaza, Margaret S. Hayward Playground, Marina Green, Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center, Mission Dolores Park, Mission Recreation Center, Palega Playground, Portsmouth Square, Richmond Recreation Center, St. Mary’s Recreation Center, St. Mary’s Square, Sue Bierman Park, Sunnyside Playground, Sunset Playground, Tenderloin Recreation Center, Upper Noe Recreation Center, Washington Square
[Via: Tech Crunch]