A team of private companies have gotten together and they plan on creating a WiFi network that would effectively provide a high-speed internet connection to 37 cities in Silicon Valley. They’ll put a WiFi tower on top of a very tall building (or several), bouncing the Internet signal to a number of access points that would be mounted on lamp posts and other structures.
The two most notable names involved are Cisco Systems and IBM. This doesn’t mean that the people who live in these cities would get to hop on the web for free, per se. Instead, the privately run network will offer customers a number of different “tiers” of service. The free “tier” would be ad-based, whereas the basic consumer “tier” would come at some sort of nominal fee. A high-speed tier for businesses would come at a premium price, whereas a tier for emergency personnel would come with extra security.
The total cost of setting up this network — full construction may commence in 2008 — is estimated at somewhere between $85 million and 150 million.