San Francisco: Free Wi-fi

The city of San Francisco and Earthlink have reached a tentative deal to make San Francisco the first city to provide free wireless internet access to all its residents. Earthlink in partnership with Google will provide free wireless internet service to all 700,000 residents. Earthlink plans to provide a free 300 kbs service, but will also offer as an alternative 1mb or faster service to residents for a mere $20 a month.

I just wonder how performance will be when a large portion of a neighborhood will use the same wireless antenna at the same time. I can see a few residents holding on to their internet access accounts for a myriad reasons: Security, speed, realibility are chief among them. It will be interesting to see how San Franciscans will embrace the citywide free internet service. How many will actually use it? How about online banking? Will it be secure? Will there be more cyber crime as a result?

If I’m a San Francisco resident, I’ll keep my internet service. Maybe, I’ll get a slower and cheaper connection for secure and online banking transactions only. The last thing I want is someone sniffing on the wireless network looking for my username, password or any valuable data that I may be transmitting in the air. Paranoia? No, just common sense.

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