Company On Track to Establish Free WiFi Presence in Every San Francisco Neighborhood by End of the Year; Also Expands Network to Include More Affordable Housing Complexes
SAN FRANCISCO — September 16, 2008 – Meraki, the company pioneering new wireless technologies to bring the next billion people online, announced today its free WiFi network is present in 80% of San Francisco’s major neighborhoods and that it is on track to complete its mission to “unwire” San Francisco by the end of the year. Additionally, the company plans to add wireless coverage to dozens of affordable housing and senior centers throughout the city by the end of the year providing access to thousands of residents. The company, which is the sole sponsor of the San Francisco network dubbed “Free the Net”, will continue to build out the network in 2009, deepening coverage in each neighborhood.
In building out the network by the end of the year Meraki will have completed the world’s largest, free public Wi-Fi network. To help expand the network, San Francisco residents and local cafes can register online at http://sf.meraki.com and receive a free wireless repeater.
“Building the world’s largest free municipal network has been a tremendous undertaking that proved to be the great challenge we expected it to be,” Sanjit Biswas, CEO of Meraki, said today at an appearance with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was previewing a Meraki installation at one of the city’s affordable housing facilities. “But this spectacular accomplishment in San Francisco will serve as true testament to the power and the capability of the wireless innovation our technology represents and the power it has to drastically accelerate Internet connectivity around the world.”
Biswas also announced at this event that Meraki would install wireless networks and offer wireless connectivity to the Internet at 12 additional affordable housing complexes in the city to commemorate One Web Day 2008. Those complexes include the Alexander Residence, the Franciscan, Antonia Manor, the Dalt Hotel, the Ambassador and other complexes, all located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. These installations will be completed with the help of SF Connect volunteers next Monday.
Meraki’s technology is unlike any other wireless access technology currently available and drastically alters the economics of Internet connectivity. Every point in the network communicates with each access point and reports information back to a central server which allows the company to manage the entire network and make corrections and improvements in areas affected by interference or congestion, ensuring optimum connection speeds.
Today, Meraki has established a WiFi presence in 42 of the city’s 52 major neighborhoods. Neighborhoods where residents can join the Meraki network today include the Mission, Hayes Valley, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, Alamo Square, Haight Ashbury, Nopa, North Beach, Russian Hill and the Tenderloin. Meraki said it will expand coverage to additional neighborhoods over the coming months including the Richmond, the Sunset, Pacific Heights, the Marina, the Waterfront, Twin Peaks, Diamond Heights and the Excelsior. Residents of these neighborhoods are particularly encouraged to sign up at http://sf.meraki.com to join the network.
"The city at the heart of technology and innovation ought to be the first city in America to have a free, public wireless network that gives every single resident the same ability to benefit from all the Internet world has to offer," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "I want to salute and congratulate our hometown hero Meraki on the upcoming completion of this network and for everything they’ve done to make sure even our most underserved communities can participate in 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’s 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.
San Francisco residents have transferred more than 37 terabytes of data on the Meraki network and activity on the network has increased 50% since June of this year. In the meantime, Meraki wireless networks continue to proliferate around the country. Tens of thousands of Meraki networks have been established in more than 125 countries worldwide.
Maggie Reardon, CNET
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 120 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