Google wires up the neighbourhood

17 Aug 2006

New free service for Mountain View seen as a test bed for other services

Google has added a free WiFi service to the city of Mountain View, California where its headquarters are based. The new 'Google WiFi' service covers 11.5 square miles of the city with 380 access points, many of which are hanging from lamp posts to create full coverage.

According to Google, anyone with a wireless-enabled Internet device such as a laptop or a PDA will be able to access GoogleWiFi through a normal Google account.

The company says that the 802.11b/g wireless service based on mesh technology will promote competition, create cheaper access alternatives, and (if done correctly) foster open, standards-compliant platforms for content and service providers to showcase their applications without the hassle of the traditional walled-garden approach.

Minnie Ingersoll, the Google Product Manager said, 'This network is a way for us to give back to and engage with the community where our headquarters are. As the product manager for Google WiFi, it has been has been tremendously rewarding to partner with the local government, the schools, the library, the neighbourhood associations, and all of our trusted testers to introduce the power of free, wireless Internet connectivity to the city'

Google is already working with partner EarthLink to provide a similar service for the city of San Francisco.

It was a low-cost mesh service that got New Orleans back onto the Internet following Hurricane Katrina.

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