Categories: Bay Area Peninsula

Foster City seals deal for free Wi-Fi Internet access

Officials have closed a deal to provide free wireless telecommunications access throughout the city, moving it ahead of a consortium working to extend a canopy of wireless access across much of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Mountain View-based MetroFi will rent space on approximately 100 Foster City light poles under the deal, where it will install cylindrical antennas that should create Internet access hotspots in most outdoor locations, according to Steve Toler, administrative services director for Foster City. The city will earn $36 per pole per year, and MetroFi will offer residents both a free, ad-driven service and an ad-free link that costs about $20 per month.

Although Foster City also plans to participate in Wireless Silicon Valley, a larger effort that would bring wireless access to nearly 40 Peninsula and South Bay cities, it jumped on the opportunity to get its own network up and running by October.

“MetroFi approached us before we’d thrown our hat in the ring for [Wireless Silicon Valley],” Toler said. “There was no guarantee that Foster would be covered, and we didn’t want to necessarily hold up the possibility for residents to get the service.”

The news comes at a time when cities across the nation are going wireless. Philadelphia has hammered out an arrangement with EarthLink to provide low-cost Internet access to residents while receiving 5 percent of EarthLink’s revenue, which the city will then use to fund educational and social programs.

In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom has inked a deal with EarthLink and Google to provide a citywide wireless network. That arrangement has drawn criticism on many fronts, including from Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who argues that a privately financed and operated network will quickly become outdated.

The project also earned jeers from the Pacific Research Institute.

“A city administration that cannot fix our streets, run an effective public transport system, address the tragedy of the homeless and reduce taxes has no business monopolizing the Internet,” said Sonia Arrison, director of technology studies at PRI, in a written statement.

Wireless Silicon Valley is accepting bids for the multicity wireless plan through June 30, according to Brian Moura, San Carlos assistant city manager. More than 140 wireless vendors have inquired about the bidding process.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

SF Examiner
Share
Published by
SF Examiner

Recent Posts

SF Opera sets holiday mood with gratifying ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

San Francisco Opera’s revised production of Jake Heggie’s opera “It’s a Wonderful Life” in its West Coast premiere is a…

2 hours ago

San Francisco 49ers sign linebacker James Onwualu to practice squad

The San Francisco 49ers have added linebacker James Onwualu to their practice squad, the team announced on Monday, its first…

2 hours ago

Elderly man sweeping SF parking lot robbed of watch at gunpoint

An elderly man was robbed of his watch in a violent armed robbery on Saturday morning while sweeping a parking…

2 hours ago

Family says video contradicts sheriff’s office story in Millbrae Taser death

The sister of an unarmed man who died after an Oct. 3 altercation with San Mateo County sheriff's deputies in…

3 hours ago

What I am grateful for on this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a few days away, and soon we will gather with friends and family to eat and give thanks.…

11 hours ago

Residents face eviction after federal lawsuit shuts down state’s largest sober living provider

More than 250 residents of California’s largest sober living provider could face evictions on Monday, after a trustee who has…

12 hours ago