Google Wi-Fi could soon connect again in Mountain View

Approval by the city council later this month could re-establish free Wi-Fi in Google's hometown

Castro Street in Mountain View, California

Castro Street in Mountain View, California

Residents of Google's hometown could soon be connecting to the Internet again via a free, citywide Wi-Fi network.

Google and the city of Mountain View are close to agreement on a new deal that would see the current network upgraded to support the higher volume of data now being exchanged among mobile devices.

"Contract details have been agreed," said Shonda Ranson, Mountain View's communications coordinator.

The new contract, details of which are not currently available, is due to be presented to the city council for a vote later this month.

If approved, it will pave the way for work to begin on replacing or upgrading the network.

The Google Wi-Fi network was first launched in the California city in August 2006 and became one of the first free, public Wi-Fi networks in the U.S.

The city's busy downtown, business areas and residential blocks were blanketed with the signal under a five-year deal. That deal was extended in 2011 for a further five years until January 2016.

It served the city well for years, but in late 2012 a drop in service quality prompted numerous complaints from residents. A test of the network by the IDG News Service at numerous points across the city in August 2013 resulted in total failure to get a working Internet connection.

The problems have been blamed on the greater data needs of smartphones and tablet PCs and the system's inability to keep up.

Whatever the cause, the result is that residents who were promised a free, citywide network have been left with a choice between poor connectivity or paying for their own access. The city too began installing a second public Wi-Fi network in City Hall and the main library because the Google service wasn't working.

The Wi-Fi network attracted headlines when it was first installed as a potential model for future municipal Wi-Fi service. Google didn't launch additional citywide services but is due to begin providing Wi-Fi at Starbucks coffee shops this year and in public parks in San Francisco. It has also launched fiber Internet service in Kansas City and Provo, Utah.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationCarriersGoogleNetworkingwirelessWLANs / Wi-Fibroadband

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?