Santa Clara launches free city-wide WiFi

Posted By KATE STANTON,  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM
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The Federal Communications Commission proposed a free, public WiFi service for all Americans in an attempt to narrow the digital divide, but a California community has already turned that dream into a reality.

Silicon Valley Power, the utilities provider for Santa Clara, Calif., upgraded its electric meters to include wireless technology, which was then used to create a public WiFi channel for the whole city, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported Wednesday.

“This is just one of the major benefits our community will enjoy as a result of our advanced metering technology,” said SVP director John Roukema in a statement. “Now our residents, visitors and local workforce can get Internet access while waiting for a train, shopping downtown, getting their car washed or relaxing in their yard.”

Users will be able to log onto the network using the SSID, "SVPMeterConnectWiFi," with no password or log-in key required.

Unfortunately for Netflix addicts, the new network doesn't have the bandwidth to handle streaming audio and video services. As Gigaom reports, SVP's connection speed is "slightly slower" than what you'll get on your 3G phone, but it should be enough for light Internet usage.

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