Google Wants To Pave The Streets With Wi-Fi

city pavement

More details are revealed about smart city arm Sidewalk Labs ambitious plans to bring free Wi-Fi to the cities of the future

Google has revealed ambitious plans to enable widespread Wi-Fi connectivity across the streets of future ‘smart cities’.

The search giant’s new ‘Sidewalk Labs’ arm, along with a group of investors, has announced the acquisition and merger of two key companies behind LinkNYC, an effort to offer free, public Wi-Fi across New York City.

The newly-formed entity, called Intersection, is now looking to extend its reach to other cities across the globe in a bid to provide fast, reliable internet access for all.

LinkNYC already aims to create up to 10,000 communications hubs that provide city residents and visitors with free public gigabit Wi-Fi, a useful resource for Google to launch its own new networks.


sidewallk-labs“By bringing these two industry leaders together, Intersection will help make cities connected places where you can walk down any street and access free ultra high-speed Wi-Fi, find transit and wayfinding information, access information about city services — the possibilities are endless,” Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff said of the move.

Sidewalk Labs was officially revealed to the public earlier this month, and forms a central part of Google’s efforts to move into the smart and connected city space.

Headed up by Doctoroff, a former CEO of Bloomberg and deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding for New York, its mission statement is to “improve life in cities for everyone through the application of technology to solve urban problems.”

“Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage,” Google co-founder Larry Page said at the launch. “While this is a relatively modest investment and very different from Google’s core business, it’s an area where I hope we can really improve people’s lives.”

The acquisition of Intersection isn’t Google’s first ambitious attempt to provide global internet connectivity, however.

The company is still hoping to launch Project Loon, its balloon-powered internet access program, aimed at delivering connectivity to the most remote areas in the world.

The balloons are able to stay airborne for up to six months, and Google says it is gearing up to prepare the launch of ‘thousands’ of units across the world.

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