Smooth Netflix On Market: SF’s New Free Wi-Fi Stretches From Embarcadero To Castro

Visitors to San Francisco’s Market Street can now access free wireless Internet thanks to a public/private partnership set up by the city, Mayor Ed Lee said today.

The Wi-Fi service under the name “_San_Francisco_Free_WiFi” can be accessed along Market Street between The Embarcadero and Castro Street, an area that sees roughly a quarter-million visitors daily, Lee said.

“The ability to present an Internet connection along Market Street has been very important to me,” said the mayor, who has pushed in particular for the revitalization of the Mid-Market neighborhood.

Lee said having wireless Internet would benefit various industries along the thoroughfare, “from tech to financial, to restaurants all along the way.”

The wireless access was developed by the city’s Department of Technology in partnership with Sunnyvale-based Ruckus Wireless, which donated nearly $1 million in hardware and services to get the Internet running, company president Selina Lo said.

“We share a vision with the city for the public utility of Wi-Fi,” Lo said. “We believe this program will become a model for cities around the world.”

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the city’s Castro District, said he was glad the wireless service extends to the Upper Market area and said it was an example of “the renaissance of public space” in San Francisco.

The city earlier this year partnered with the tech giant Google on plans to install Wi-Fi at 31 public parks, plazas and open spaces across the city, a project expected to be completed by next summer, according to the mayor’s office.

Mayor Lee today also announced the overhaul of the Wi-Fi network on Treasure Island, resulting in faster Internet service for more than 2,500 residents and small businesses there.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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