NEWS: Google launches Wi-Fi network in Mountain View

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by John Navas, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. John Navas

    John Navas Guest


    The Wi-Fi network Google built for Mountain View becomes generally
    available on Wednesday, providing free broadband wireless access in
    this California city that the search engine giant calls home.

    Google’s network includes 380 access points throughout this city,
    which has about 72,000 residents and covers a 12-square mile area,
    said Chris Sacca, Google’s head of special initiatives.

    It will offer 1Mbps of throughput both upstream and downstream, and
    that capacity can be increased if necessary, he said.

    Google had been shooting for mid-September for the service’s official
    launch, but it wrapped up its final tests ahead of time. About 1,000
    people participated in the service’s test phase, he said.

    Starting Wednesday, people with Wi-Fi devices will be able to pick up
    the Google network’s signal and sign in with their Google account
    user ID and password.

    Those who don’t have a Google account will be able to create one by
    simply choosing a password and entering an e-mail address. If they
    don’t have an e-mail address, they will be able to create one as
    well, he said.

    Google has no plans to deliver online ads to the network’s users and
    it isn’t charging the city anything for building the network. In
    fact, the city stands to receive payments from Google for the
    placement of equipment on city-owned light poles, Mountain View
    officials have said in the past. Moreover, Google will cover
    maintenance and utility costs.

    "We have no business plan for this network," Sacca said. Google hopes
    to benefit indirectly by the increased availability of Internet
    access, and it believes it is contributing to its home city, where
    more than 1,000 of its employees live, he said.

    People should be able to reach the network inside their homes, to
    some degree. "Wi-Fi signals are irregular and hard to predict, so
    coverage varies depending on where you are, how close the node
    happens to be and what your house is made of," Sacca said.

    Residents can buy inexpensive repeater devices to boost and extend
    the reception inside their homes, he said.

    San Francisco, about 40 miles north of Mountain View, has chosen
    Google and partner EarthLink to provide municipal Wi-Fi service. The
    companies have proposed a two-tiered service: EarthLink would offer a
    paid subscription service with speeds over 1Mbps and Google would
    offer a 300K bps service for free. The companies are currently in
    negotiations with the city on the terms of the agreement.

    John Navas, Aug 17, 2006
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