It looks like Google had a contingency plan for municipal wi-fi in San Francisco in the event that Earthlink cratered. Last night I got an email from my ISP, Sonic.net, that said they’re going to try build an open wireless grid in partnership with Google using existing customers’ internet connections.
I sent this over to Om Malik who wrote it up on his blog last night.
It’ll be interesting to see if this plan to build the muni wi-fi network in San Francisco on an ad-hoc basis gets anywhere. There’s not much in it for the typical ISP customer, who would supply the electricity and a small chunk of bandwidth in exchange for a vague promise to share an unspecified bit of any Google advertising revenue that may be generated at some point in the future.
The real trick here for me would be figuring out who’s ultimately responsible for the network. I ran an open wireless network for my neighbors to use for a year, but I had to button it up after one of my bonehead neighbors started using it to download copyrighted movies, triggering several nastygrams which I did not appreciate.