Contradiction In Terms

Google and Earthlink have won a bid to provide San Francisco with Wi-Fi.

In general, the free service would be faster than dialup, but slower than the average broadband connection. So far, telecommunication companies that have challenged free government-sponsored Wi-Fi in other cities as unfair competition have yet to take any action to stop the San Francisco project, which could be completed within eight months after the deal is finalized by the city, Bill Tolpegin, vice president of development and planning for Earthlink, said.

Emphasis mine.

Update: Maybe not a contradiction. From another article:

Google is expected to offer a free service that will be paid for by advertising. Earthlink will provide a service that runs about four times faster, although users will have to pay a subscription of around $20 (£11.40) a month for access. Both will be faster than dial-up services and the city hopes both will be up and running by the end of the year.

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Both Philadelphia and SF,

Both Philadelphia and SF, which were the leaders in the municipal wi-fi movement, have completely capitulated and switched from promises of "free, public" wi-fi to "competitively bid, private" wi-fi.

Overall, a victory for those of us who insisted from the beginning that wireless Internet access is simply not a public good.:cool:

I wonder why they are both

I wonder why they are both going after SF... wouldn't one of them prefer to open in an unclaimed city, such as New York, where they won't have to share customers?

considering the byzantine

considering the byzantine nature of New Yorks Government structures and special interests, I wonder if it would be the easiest idea