San Francisco's plan to tap the resources of Google and EarthLink to blanket the city with free, sluggish Wi-Fi has faced another delay, as members of the Budget and Finance Committee voted to postpone proceedings until July 11. Since it was finalized in January, the plan has sharply divided San Francisco's elected officials. …
You're kidding, right?
...that route put quality, reliability and privacy ahead of convenience...
Obviously written by someone who has never had to deal with the "quality and reliability" of city-run services in the Bay Area. If the City of SF is running this service, you can count on it being slower than snail-mail and about as reliable as Mayor Newsom. We'll get the customer service you'd expect from the DMV at lunchtime (motto: I'm busy filing my nails, but I'll get to that line of 500 people sometime today") combined with the efficiency of street maintenance (motto: "If we worked any slower, we'd be going backwards") and the convenience of the US postal service (motto: "We keep shorter hours than bankers")
At least Google and Earthlink are losing money if the network goes down. When a city-run network goes down, the city employees are collecting their paychecks as they lean on their shovels.
Water System Proves SF Is Good At Public Networks
I've seen this tired, weak argument so many times it makes me yawn.
The is no evidence that city run services are poor compared to private ownership, and lots of evidence that private companies -do- run public services poorly.
For example - water. I live in San Francisco. The water system is extremely complex. (Much more complex than a wifi network, which is just a bunch of antennas slapped onto electrical poles.)
Funny thing, every time I go to my tap, I get extremely low priced and clean water. And the city is solely responsible for delivering it.
In Atlanta however (Earthlink's home base) a private company was given control of the water system and it became a total disaster.
So you tell me. Who better runs complex utility delivery systems?
Water, water, everywhere...
Yes, some cities can do "water". So can private enterprise. Just go a bit south (about 50 miles) to the city of San Jose, which has one of the largest privately owned water utilities. It does quite well. I would hate to see how a city would handle telephone service. One must understand that WiFi is a bit more than "a bunch of antennas on (...) electrical poles". While a simple home network is like that, it doesn't interconnect much. Metricom (Ricochet modems) attempted to do a mesh wireless system, and while it was operational, it was too costly to maintain (they went bust!).
As the saying goes: "Good, Fast, Cheap, pick two".