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Google launches free wi-fi service

Internet giant Google launched a freely accessible wi-fi network in its hometown of Mountain View Wednesday.

Radios hanging on lampposts throughout the city are now broadcasting an 802.11b/g signal that it publicly accessible by any residents, businesses and visitors within the area of coverage.

Google states the network “is a way for us to give back to and engage with the community where our headquarters are,” while another goal is to promote alternative access technologies by using Mountain View as an example for organisations considering investin in wi-fi.

“We think successful mesh wireless deployments will promote competition, create cheaper access alternatives, and (if done correctly) foster open, standards-compliant platforms for content and service providers to showcase their applications without the hassle of the traditional walled-garden approach,” the company said.

While Google has no plans to charge for wi-fi access in Mountain View, the internet search group has also partnered with ISP Earthlink to cover the city of San Francisco with a wi-fi network.

Google and Earthlink’s joint proposal will see the companies offering a tiered payment system for internet access, including an Earthlink service that will let paying users connect at higher speeds than those who connect for Google’s free service, which will be paid for by online advertising.

Speculation is now spreading that Google has its sights on creating a wi-fi network to cover the whole of the US.

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