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Google San Francisco WiFi project put in the freezer

Posted on Thursday, August 09 2007 @ 08:26:49 CEST by

CNN reports Google's and Earthlink's plan to provide wireless Internet access in San Francisco have been put on hold:
On Wednesday, a committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors delayed voting on a contract for the municipal wireless network, after failing to receive a response from EarthLink on proposed contract alterations.

That decision was taken "in the shadow of comments" made last week by EarthLink Chief Executive Rolla Huff that cast doubt on the company's desire to move forward on such municipal wireless deals, according to David Noyola, an aide to Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

If EarthLink had responded to supervisors' requests for contract alterations made in July, including increasing required data speeds and privacy controls, a contract could have been approved and sent on to the full board for a vote Wednesday, Noyola said. Now, he said, a vote will not be possible until September at the earliest.

Google (GOOG) sees its partnership with EarthLink on the San Francisco wireless project as a test for possible similar projects in other cities, as the company seeks to increase its exposure to Internet users outside of traditional telecom and cable company service providers.

In separate but related moves, Google has lobbied the Federal Communications Commission to alter spectrum auction rules and open up mobile services to providers outside of traditional telecom companies, and it has lobbied to make unlicensed "white spaces" spectrum available for unlicensed consumer device access.



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