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San Francisco pulls the plug on Google / Earthlink's citywide WiFi... for now

Joshua Topolsky
August 6, 2007
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It looks like the people of San Francisco are going to have to wait a little bit longer before they can spam their friends with memes while sitting in the middle of Golden Gate Park. The WiFi blanket deal which would see Google and Earthlink teaming up to deliver a citywide network to the Bay-area has ground to a halt after a round of somewhat "unfriendly" statements from Earthlink concerning the plans. David Noyola, speaking on behalf of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (which has been overseeing the project) said that the network's rollout has stalled "in the shadow of comments," made last week by Rolla Huff, the internet provider's CEO, who expressed reservations over municipal wireless deals. Breaking points in particular seem to be the city's request for changes in data speed and privacy controls, and its desire to downsize Earthlink's contract on the network from 16 years to eight (significantly reducing the company's time to earn a profit). The internet provider now claims that they are doing a "detailed review," of their business model regarding the project, which the company says will not provide "an acceptable return." Obviously a lose-lose situation for the laptop-toting citizens of the City by the Bay.

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