San Francisco's Wi-Fi evangelists still have social motivations in mind. Since the days of the Earthlink-Google project, the city has operated free Wi-Fi for broadband service in public housing projects, Vinson said. Another project, funded through a donation from Google, is intended to light up the city's parks.
Touitou sees connectivity as a basic right of citizens. But there are dollars and cents involved, too. Increased broadband penetration has been shown to increase countries' gross domestic products, Touitou said. "If you don't take action to increase the broadband penetration, it's counterproductive to our economic development."
"It's a normal municipal service, as far as I'm concerned," he said.
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