The city of San Francisco has received about a dozen bidders, including Google and EarthLink, to run a Wi-Fi service covering the entire city of 750,000 residents, it has emerged.
A great deal of attention was paid to the Google bid. The company is the subject of a great deal of scrutiny at the moment, following a raft of summer product announcements and a newly swollen war chest.
Google said it would deploy about 1,000 hot-spots across the city, about 30 per square mile. The service would be free, and most likely advertising supported, though Google has yet to show its cards on that point.
Atlanta-based Internet service provider EarthLink also put forth a bid, although it is not believed to be planning a free service.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome called for proposals in mid-August, saying his plan was to bring affordable Internet access to all residents, including those with low incomes.
He added that the initiative could be a model to the country. Some say Google is planning such an ambitious nationwide project regardless.
Talk of a hypothetical GoogleNet has been increasing recently, as Google’s followers seek to read the runes of the company’s various product launches, beta tests and job postings.