Visitors to San Francisco will find staying connected a little bit easier from now on thanks to a free wifi network running along Market Street, the city's main thoroughfare.
Some 150 hotspots now dot a three mile (4.8 km) stretch of Market Street, from the colourful Castro district to the waterside Embarcadero, cutting straight through the busy 'downtown' district.
Built and operated by the city council the network is ad-free and fast, with a 1 gigabit fibre-optic backbone underpinning the hotspots, which are each capable of delivering peak speeds of 50Mbps using dual-band 802.11n wireless.
Actual connection speed will of course depend on several factors, including signal strength and the number of current users. And with a quarter of a million people traversing Market Street every day, according to the city council, we doubt you'll ever have a single hotspot all to yourself.
But users can always expect at least 2Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps upstream. There's not even any bothersome sign-up process: just connect to any San_Francisco_Free_WiFi hotspot, accept the obligatory terms & conditions, and start surfing.
"We wanted high capacity... we wanted it to be cool - no strings attached, no ads" explains Marc Touitou, chief information officer of San Francisco's city council. "It was simpler, faster, better to do it on our own" he says, rather than involve any third parties.
For more details on the network, click through to San Francisco WiFi.
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