Om Malik has the scoop on Google's plan as does The San Francisco Chronicle: Google has thrown its hat into the proposed San Francisco city-wide network upping the ante against competing bidders by suggesting access will be free, as will the cost to the city. Om is interested in Google Talk working across an entire city. He also the value of location-targeted advertising. The Wall Street Journal now has the story, too.
Om reports (and the Chronicle does not but the Journal does) that the service will be a mere 300 Kbps ubiquitously. This would suggest perhaps that they're deploying RoamAD's technology via their partner, which Om pegs as the firm WFI. I say RoamAD because it's the only company I know that uses 300 Kbps as their bandwidth hook for ubiquitous service at a minimum.
The New York Times report adds that Google will deploy 802.11g at first, and switch to 802.11n (not expected to be in final form until as late as early 2007).
The SF Chronicle story quotes a fellow at the Pacific Research Institute--which has ties to SBC, Verizon, and The Heartland Institute--that even free is too expensive. Vince Vasquez says, "But even if it's free, it might represent too much involvement by the city in a sector that should left to private industries." That's a paraphrase by the reporters. This probably involves the facilities issue: the city will be involved in setting the network's parameters and offering access to conduit, poles, etc., in a fashion that might not available to any company other than their preferred bidder.
Microsoft's motto was a computer in every home, and, said sotto voce, running Microsoft software. Google's is perhaps a network everywhere, and, quietly, clicking on Google ads.