I was just reading about the Boston Wireless Task Force.
The City of Boston is going to designate a non-profit entity to build an open network. This will be a 'wholesale' network, where 'retail' entities will be able to run competing WiFi solutions.
This includes companies like my cable company Comcast.
Comcast has already participated in a 'wholesale' network like this at Logan International Airport. Only you have to pay a daily rate to get on the network. I'm already a Comcast customer and pay them a lot of money to access the internet. My account should allow me to get on the network at the airport too. Comcast is Comcast, right?
Once we have WiFi all over Boston, I am NOT going to want to pay a daily charge or another monthly charge to get online.
When I was in San Francisco, there was free wireless everywhere, and that's PRIOR to Google installing their free solution.
If you go visit the task force website, you'll get a sense of how tuned in they are. Most of the site links to PDF files.
And the video requires RealPlayer.
And don't get me started on bridging the digital divide. Wireless access alone won't bridge anything. Access to computers and teaching skills for participating in conversations are needed and the report states that existing community groups can do that.
Right now the best solution to getting WiFi access across Boston seems to be an EVDO card from Verizon.