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Free Wi-Fi comes to San Francisco (or a part of it, at least)

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Reuters

(Read caption) Wireless Internet access is coming to Market Street, in San Francisco. Get your smartphone ready.

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San Francisco is rolling out free Wi-Fi service on three miles of Market Street, one of the busiest drags in the city. 

The network, which cost about half a million dollars, stretches from Castro Street to the Embarcadero, and will go live this week. According to PC World, Ruckus Wireless, a company headquartered in nearby Sunnyvale, donated 150 of its outdoor access points for the project; meanwhile, the Mountain Company Layer42 Networks reportedly provided a gigabit of Internet access service. 

"A quarter of a million people traverse Market Street every day, from all walks of life," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told the Chronicle this week. "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."

Plenties of American cities are now offering free Wi-Fi in some areas – in Boston, for instance, you sign online in the Common or in busy, bustling South Station. Other metropolises, such as Los Angeles, are reportedly weighing the possibility of city-wide networks. For the most part, these developments have been greeted warmly by residents. But not everyone is onboard. 

"Do we really want to create an environment where the general public, parents and caregivers are sitting with their computers connected with the Internet instead of connecting with nature and our children?" a singer-songwriter named Shannon Bryant told the San Francisco Examiner. "Do we want to teach our children that parks are for going online and consuming products instead of playing in the grass or climbing a tree? We don’t."

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