San Francisco Sends Mixed Signals with Three Miles of Free WiFi On Market Street

San Francisco residents are receiving the gift of free WiFi this week, but they’re also continually being told to keep their smartphones and smart devices safely stowed away. Whether on San Francisco’s city buses or on the sidewalks, the city’s mayor and policemen have been encouraging citizens to read paper books. So why spread free WiFi if it’s so dangerous?

In an announcement about the free service, Mayor Ed Lee expresses nothing but positivism, despite the growing trend of smartphone thefts in the urban area:

A quarter of a million people traverse Market Street every day, from all walks of life… Now they can access information, find out when their next bus is coming, or peruse local job listings, all for free. This is a significant first step in my vision of connectivity for our city.

Originally proposed in 2007 by then mayor, Gavin Newsom, the plan is not as far reaching as the citywide access. The current layout of the WiFi corridor on Market Street is a slow 50Mbps of internet – dangerously slow enough to keep you nervously clutching your smartphone while you look up the next bus.

San Franisco may be closely linked to Silicon Valley and companies like Google, but it’s not the fastest city in terms of wireless connectivity. Cities like Kansas City outpace the city’s slow connection speeds. According to the project’s website, the 3 mile swath is the few free zones in the city, but there’s also a plan with $600,000 form Google to implement free WiFi in all of the city’s public parks.

To connect to the free WiFi:

  1. Select the WiFi network named “_San_Francisco_Free_WiFi”
  2. Launch a web browser
  3. Click the button to accept the terms and conditions

Via SF Gate