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Google launches local Wi-Fi early

Company's not going in the muni Wi-Fi business, it says, but wants to jump-start the technology across the region.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Google launched its free Wi-Fi service in its home town of Mountain View, Calif., today, ahead of schedule, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

``The feedback was overwhelming positive,'' said Chris Sacca, head of special initiatives for Google. ``It's glowing, and in fact it's why we're launching the network earlier than we planned. It's hard to keep up with the requests to get on the network.''

The network covers 90 percent of the city's 12 square miles and offers maximum data-transfer speeds of up to 1 megabit per second. It consists of 380 Tropos-built transceivers on light poles throughout the city. The company will pay the city an annual fee of $36 per fixture.

The company has said it doesn't plan to become a municipal wireless provider; rather it wants to study the new technology. Google has also joined with EarthLink to build a network in San Francisco, and Sacca is joining the board of the group pushing for a Silicon Valley-wide wireless network.

``What I'd really like to do is inspire these networks to be built in other communities,'' said Sacca. ``One of the big questions has been, `Do they work?' The last few weeks for us has been the most exciting because it works.''

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