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San Francisco To Get Free Wi-Fi In City Parks, Open Spaces

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(Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

(Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Wireless is coming to many San Francisco parks and open spaces, with some major help from Google.

The $600,000 gift from Google will allow for free public wireless Internet access at several parks, recreation centers and plazas across the city.

“We want to make sure that we had reach across San Francisco and really, specifically addressed areas of high visibility, but also high usage,” said San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell.

Farrell approached Google more than two years ago about the possibility of expanding free Wi-Fi service in the city.

Wi-Fi installation will occur at 31 parks, rec centers and plazas in San Francisco, including Civic Center Plaza, Justin Herman Plaza, Mission Dolores Park and Marina Green among others. But it will not include Golden Gate Park, which is too large of a space.

The project must still be approved by the Planning Department, but Farrell said installation should begin this year.

“The project is going to start rolling out in December and should be completed by April of next year,” he said.

A handful of city properties are already equipped with free Wi-Fi, including parts of City Hall and San Francisco International Airport. City leaders are also trying to bring greater access to the Market Street corridor, which they are hoping will be revitalized with a number of businesses moving in to the area.

Farrell said the implementation is important, as many recreation centers in San Francisco are still relying on dial-up for online access.

San Francisco’s Chief Information Officer and Director of the Department of Technology, Marc Touitou, said the private sector and the city are working together with a sense of urgency on the Wi-Fi plan.

“You’d be amazed what we can do leveraging the infrastructure of the city. I have run a few pilots and it’s working well,” Touitou explained. “The Wi-Fi experience is good. I think the San Franciscans are going to be delighted.”

“We shall have a Wi-Fi San Francisco. Now the question is will we be the one hundredth city to do it or one of the top 10 cities. I prefer the top10 city, if not better than that. But let’s stay humble for now, but I think we’re going to move really fast,” he said.

List of public areas in San Francisco gaining free Wi-Fi (from SF Chronicle):

Alamo Square, Balboa Park, Bernal Heights Recreation Center, Boeddeker Park, Chinese Recreation Center, Civic Center Plaza, Corona Heights, Crocker Amazon Playground, Duboce Park, Eureka Valley Recreation Center, Gene Friend Recreation Center, Hamilton Recreation Center, Huntington Park, Joseph Lee Recreation Center, Justin Herman Plaza, Margaret S. Hayward Playground, Marina Green, Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center, Mission Dolores Park, Mission Recreation Center, Palega Playground, Portsmouth Square, Richmond Recreation Center, St. Mary’s Recreation Center, St. Mary’s Square, Sue Bierman Park, Sunnyside Playground, Sunset Playground, Tenderloin Recreation Center, Upper Noe Recreation Center, Washington Square

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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