Underserved Communities in San Francisco Will Be Among First to Receive Free Broadband Wi-Fi As Meraki Project Continues Expansion Across Entire City
SAN FRANCISCO — June 11, 2008 – Meraki, the company that is pioneering new technologies to bring the next billion people online, announced today it will “unwire” affordable housing in San Francisco, another milestone in the company’s effort to bring free broadband wi-fi access to the city’s residents.
“The Meraki mission is to change the economics of Internet access for everyone, including those who live in some of our most underserved communities,” said Sanjit Biswas, CEO and founder of Meraki. “For a fraction of the cost of hardwiring these communities, we will bring high-speed Internet access to families who have never had access in their home before. And we’re bringing new communities online everyday across the globe.”
Already Meraki has established free wireless access in Altamont Hotel and Dunleavy Plaza, two of the city’s affordable housing communities that provide single occupancy and family housing to over 100 tenants. Over the coming months, Meraki will extend Free the Net to dozens of similar communities in San Francisco.
Mayor Gavin Newsom and Sanjit Biswas appeared together today at the Altamont Hotel and Valencia Gardens where they spoke about unwiring the city.
"San Francisco is one of the most connected cities in the country and we are excited to support the work of companies such as Meraki in their endeavor to bring wifi access to every neighborhood in the city," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "It is due to local based companies like Meraki who blend the best technology with the best intentions and an ability to execute which make our city great."
Meraki also said it has added new neighborhoods to its “Free the Net” network in the city. Residents in Noe Valley and Bernal Heights are now connecting to the network. Residents in those neighborhoods as well as those in the Mission, Alamo Square Hayes Valley, Nob Hill, Russian Hill and the Castro can now sign up at http://sf.meraki.com to find out how they can help spread access throughout their community. Meraki is providing this free access as it tests its ability to bring wireless access to an entire city.
San Francisco residents have transferred more than 25 terabytes of data on the Meraki network and activity on the network has increased 120% since January of this year. In the meantime, Meraki wireless networks continue to proliferate around the country. Thousands of Meraki networks have been established in more than 100 countries across the globe.
Meraki’s technology is unlike any other wireless access technology currently available. Every point in the network communicates with each access point and reports information back to a central server which can optimize speed and performance throughout the network.
Meraki is funding the entire cost for establishing the network across the city, including affordable housing communities. The company is funding “Free the Net” in order to demonstrate to other communities around the world that Meraki technology can be used to create city-wide wireless networks at a fraction of current costs. No public funds will be used to build the Meraki wireless network in San Francisco.
Meraki said it will initially use Wi-Fi technology to build its network, but plans on updating and improving the technology infrastructure with technology innovations developed by the company or others.
The company expects to have “Free the Net” access points up and running in every neighborhood of the city by the end of this year. Meraki makes their new home in San Francisco this week.
Meraki began in 2006, from a Ph.D. research project at MIT, with the intent of helping bring affordable access to people around the world. Starting with a single network which covered Cambridge, Massachusetts, the technology quickly spread into over 100 countries around the world in less than a year. Today, Meraki networks are being built in thousands of locations around the world, connecting people everywhere from San Francisco to villages in India. Meraki is based in San Francisco, California, and is funded in part by Sequoia Capital and Google. For more information, go to www.meraki.com.
Atomic Public Relations