Fred Wilson originally noted sometime back in September that Philadelphia had launched an initiative to provide wireless internet access across their entire city. Now he has written about San Francisco undertaking a similar venture.
In Philadelphia, according to Technology Futurist and cNet, the cost is about $10 million initially and about $1.5 million per year to maintain it. That's because WiFi equipment is cheap and getting cheaper every day. If the amortized cost of the upfront expense is about $2-3 million per year, then the total annual cost is about $4 million per year.
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom today said the city plans to launch citywide free WiFi access. Speaking at his annual state of the city address, Newsom said, "No San Franciscan should be without a computer and a broadband connection." San Francisco will eventually deploy free WiFi access throughout the city's public buildings and public spaces. San Francisco is the latest urban center to announce plans for a citywide wireless network. Both New York and Philadelphia have announced initiatives to launch WiFi hotzones... ....It's happening. Wifi is going to be public infrastructure like roads, tunnels, and bridges.
Others cities currently studying public WiFi offering include Redmond, Wash and Los Angeles:
The Redmond City Council just approved a proposal to support wireless Internet. The mayor of L.A. created a panel that will create a report looking at the role that Wi-Fi can play in attracting business in L.A. and the role the city should play in making sure the access is available to residents.
I think that this is something that Paris should absolutely launch. Having wireless internet everywhere you go, so that it becomes woven moreso into everyday life, no matter where you are, would be a very interesting experiment. Especially now that so many devices have WiFi.