Small Company Promises SF Free WiFi

New idea could help startup succeed where Google failed
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2008 4:47 PM CST

(Newser) – A tiny startup has a plan to blanket San Francisco with free Internet access and revive the floundering municipal wireless concept. Meraki Networks hopes to enlist city residents to install free radio repeaters atop their homes, which would be simpler and cheaper than placing them on public property, as Google and EarthLink planned to do, the AP reports.

Assuming enough people donate their roofs, Meraki says it can cover the city for just $1 million—$16 million less than EarthLink had planned to spend. And unlike other plans, which aimed to sell high-speed connections or ads, Meraki is using San Francisco only to prove the technology works before selling it to developing countries looking for cheap wireless.