Who says Mountain View has all the fun?
The good folks at Meraki are making news again. As some of you have heard, this San Francisco company has been busy putting a repeater-based network in place to provide the city of San Francisco with FREE Wifi Internet.
To date, Meraki has provided its Wi-Fi gear and free Internet access to residents in 80 percent of San Francisco’s major neighborhoods. The company plans to continue building the “Free the Net” network in 2009, deepening coverage in each neighborhood.
Recently, Meraki held a press conference with mayor Gavin Newsom, to launch its latest project, which will add wireless coverage to twelve low-income housing projects in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The company also plans to provide Wi-Fi Internet access to low-income housing owned by the city in other neighborhoods as well as provide free Wi-Fi to senior centers throughout the city by the end of 2008.
You can sign up here to help expand the ever-growing network:
With the help of volunteers like you, we are building a network with thousands of indoor and outdoor repeaters! Each of these little boxes spreads the network a little further, bringing free Internet access to you and your neighbors. Depending on where you live, you might be able to help us out. And if you can put a repeater outdoors at your place, even better!
According to Sanjit Biswas, Meraki CEO, much of the usage is being driven by Apple’s new iPhone. Biswas said that over the last couple of months since the iPhone 3G was announced, Meraki has seen more than 20 percent of its new users coming from the iPhone.
“The Meraki network is faster than AT&T’s 3G network,” he said. “So for users who know the Meraki signal is there, they prefer to jump on the free Wi-Fi network. ”
Meraki makes money by selling base units and transceivers in other markets. The SF rollout is a test bed for their technology, and a great PR opportunity.
The idea seems like a win-win situation for users as well as Meraki who can test their equipment in the real world, instead of a lab environment. It’s refreshing to see a company helping out the less fortunate.