Google plans to offer free high-speed Internet access to everyone in Mountain View, CA., its Silicon Valley hometown.
The wireless ("Wi-Fi") network will probably make the city the largest American municipality with free Internet access. Mountain View, about 35 miles south of San Francisco, has about 72,000 residents. That's about three times the population of St. Cloud, FL, which had been the free Wi-Fi champ.
Google has about $10 billion in cash, and spent about $1 million to build the Wi-Fi system, which can save Mountain View households hundreds of dollars each per year. The network uses about 380 antennas, and will provide web access at speeds similar to DSL, but slightly slower than cable.
Google has teamed up with Internet service provider Earthlink to build a Wi-Fi network in San Francisco, where many of its employees live. It should be ready in 2007. (from AP)