Google to pay $600,000 for free Wi-Fi in San Francisco's parks

Thirty-one of the city's parks, plazas, and rec centers will be getting free Wi-Fi within the next year; and the Web giant is paying for equipment costs, installation, and maintenance.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr

Google is bestowing San Francisco the gift of free Wi-Fi in 31 public parks, plazas, and recreation centers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The gift will come in the form of $600,000 from Google, which will pay for equipment costs, installation, and maintenance for two years.

The company is "proud to provide free Wi-Fi in San Francisco, a city where thousands of its employees work and live," Google senior manager for public policy and government relations Veronica Bell told the Chronicle. "We hope that free Wi-Fi will be a resource that the city and other local groups will be able to use in their efforts to bridge the digital divide and make their community stronger."

Google began working with the city more than ten years ago but the deal fell through in 2007 after political infighting between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors, according to the Chronicle. The city approached Google again two years ago to renew discussions about the Wi-Fi project and this time it panned out.

The Web giant is known for giving a helping hand when it comes to free Wi-Fi. Not only has it initiated free wireless projects in Silicon Valley cities, like Mountain View and Milpitas, it has also helped bring free Wi-Fi to urban centers, like Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

San Francisco's free Wi-Fi is scheduled to be up and running by next spring.