San Francisco’s Market Street once carried streetcars, horses and horseless carriages. Today, Market Street features free Wi-Fi, from Castro Street to the Embarcadero, a distance of three miles.
After several tries with different Internet providers, the city finally built the system itself at a cost of $500,000, and included donations from several companies, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Department of Technology (DT) developed San Francisco Free Internet with hardware donated by Bay Area-based Ruckus Wireless, and 1 gigabit of Internet connectivity donated by Layer42 Networks, Mayor Ed Lee said in a release. DT staff and selected vendors designed and implemented the municipally owned service.
"It was simpler, faster, better to do it on our own," said San Francisco CIO Marc Touitou in a release. "The quality is higher, with the technical design by the Department of Technology. We wanted high capacity. ... We wanted it to be cool -- no strings attached, no ads."
Touitou's team ran fiber-optic cable along Market Street and then connected it to network equipment set up on traffic lights and other city-owned fixtures.
While the city still falls short of the comprehensive coverage once planned, it has 130 miles of fiber optic cable providing high-speed Internet to municipal buildings, neighborhood firehouses, police stations, recreational facilities and educational institutions.
In addition, the city just completed an upgrade of the Treasure Island Wi-Fi Network, and Google will install free Wi-Fi in 31 parks, plazas and open spaces across the city beginning next spring.