Despite the failed effort to build city-wide Wi-Fi in San Francisco, Gavin Newsom can still borrow credit: Meraki's SF Free the Net effort, which has them paying a hunk of the cost of building a grassroots Wi-Fi network across swaths of the city, continues to be coattailed (with the company's full encouragement) by Mayor Newsom.
Today's announcement sees Meraki nicely footing the bill for extending their service into neighborhood affordable housing, municipal-speak for low-income housing that's subsidized typically through government efforts and funds. Meraki will install networks at 12 buildings in the Tenderloin, known as San Francisco's roughest neighborhood, now going on many decades with that designation.
Meraki claims a "presence" in 42 of 52 major neighborhoods in the city, although their map tells a very different story about how usage is clustered in areas in which it would make perfect sense that usage was seen.
Meraki has engaged in a very interesting public project, and likes the imprimatur of San Francisco, even as they don't really need the city; the city, in contrast, needs them (or Newsom particularly) to salvage something from years of planning that blew up in their faces.
Anyway, SF's EarthLink network would never have been built; or, having been underway, would never have been completed.
Forgive my snark tone and cynicism: Meraki has put a lot of resources into building a publicly accessible network across a hunk of SF that wouldn't otherwise exist.