Google Wi-Fi to go public in Mountain View

Google's free wireless Internet access will be available to anyone in Mountain View, Calif., this week.

The Wi-Fi network, which was previously in a "trusted tester phase" with more than 1,000 people, was set to go live and be open to the Silicon Valley city's 72,000 residents and any visitors late on Tuesday, said Chris Sacca, head of special initiatives at Google.

The advertising-free service will offer transmission speeds of up to one megabit-per-second to anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled device that is located within range of one of the 380 access points Google has installed throughout the city, he said.

"There are a few pockets of no coverage...because the city didn't actually have lamp posts to give us (to put antennas on) in those areas" he said.

Meanwhile, Google is preparing to offer free Wi-Fi service in San Francisco too. The company will be an "anchor tenant riding on top of EarthLink's" proposed Wi-Fi network that EarthLink is negotiating with the city of San Francisco, Sacca said. Although city officials have given preliminary approval to the proposal, the contract will need ratification by the board of supervisors once it is reached, he added.

Google has faced opposition to its plans in San Francisco, which some critics say would intrude on user privacy and speculate could turn into an ad-supported service designed to boost Google's profit.

Sacca said the community response in the two cities was widely divergent. For instance, "one woman in Mountain View wrote an epic-length poem about the building out of the Wi-Fi network," he said. Whereas, "there were elements within San Francisco who have looked a gift horse in the mouth," asking Google to "take all the kids in the district to the zoo in the Google buses." Google said "no."

 

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