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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Google WiFi At Risk Over Petty Politics, Davis Says

Davis sent in this:

You may want to put this one in the 20% weirdness category, but last night I attended a grassroots townhall meeting being hosted by Google and Earthlink to discuss their free wifi initives. As a first hand observer of how powerful of an impact the internet can have on someone’s life, I figured that free WiFi would be a slam dunk if Google and EarthLink were willing to spend their own money to build it.

Unfortunately, at the meeting I not only learned that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors refuses to approve their previous proposal, but I saw as an angry mob demanded bizarre concessions from a company that is trying to empower every citizen of San Francisco by giving them something that Comcast wants to charge $40 a month for.

Normally, I’m not a very political person, but when my TV or Internet is at stake, I’ll fight like crazy to protect it. Considering the massive positive social benefit that citizens of SF would see from free internet access, it was very distressing to learn that Google’s free WiFi program may be at risk because the company isn’t willing to engage in the back scratching necessary to build something useful in San Francisco. Google did say that they are still trying to work with the city, but if last night’s response is any indication as to how those talks are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google walks away at some point. I hope you enjoy my coverage of last night’s event.

[Thanks Davis!]


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