Free Wi-Fi open to anyone with mobile device, laptop along Market Street

San Francisco’s free Market Street Wi-Fi service officially debuted Monday, allowing anyone along the thoroughfare between the Castro district and The Embarcadero to log on simply by using the “_San_Francisco_Free_WiFi” network.

The open network is listed as one of the wireless options on any mobile device, smartphone or laptop when in the area. The service is free of ads.

“Whether it’s accessing a bus schedule or finding a bargain at a local store, this network will do wonders for improving the quality of life for our residents while also accommodating our visitors who contribute to our local economy,” said Marc Touitou, director and chief information officer of the Department of Technology. The department’s total wireless network maintenance budget for the upcoming fiscal year, including the new Market Street site, is $120,000, he said.

The Market Street network was made possible with a donation of hardware by Bay Area-based Ruckus Wireless. In six months, a separate Wi-Fi service made possible by a $600,000 grant from Google is expected to launch in 31 public spaces throughout The City.

More locations are expected as city officials explore installing free Wi-Fi for The Embarcadero, Third Street and public housing sites.

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