Fast and Free: Mountain View’s Google WiFi

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MENLO PARK, August 16, 2006 (PodTech News) – Google WiFi is open for business in the city of Mountain View. As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, the city of 72,000 became the second, and most populous, U.S. city with completely free Internet access blanketing the community. Chris Sacca, head of special initiatives at Google, talked with PodTech’s Catherine Girardeau about why Google spent approximately $1 million to unwire its neighborhood.

REPORTER’S NOTES: This story (including the 9 megabyte audio file) was filed via Google WiFi from the Mountain View Public Library in less than one minute. It was faster than my DSL access at home or my office wireless network. The little white boxes, if you can get over their suspicious resemblance to surveillance devices, give the city’s streetlights some 21st-century cachet. I’ll have photos, and a chat with the Mountain View city officials who worked with Google and the community, on the show tomorrow, as well as an interview with Tropos Networks, the company that supplied and built the WiFi access points.

Om Malik’s blog, GigaOm, has some good coverage of the story, including a link to GigaOm writer Katie Fehrenbacher’s reportage. She was one of the system’s beta-testers. All the information you need to test-drive Google WiFi can be found on Google’s official blog.

– Catherine Girardeau

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