Fred Wilson over at the A VC blog originally noted sometime back in September that Philadelphia had launched an initiative to provide wireless internet access across their entire city.
Now he has written about San Francisco undertaking a similar venture.
I think that this is something that Vancouver, Canada should absolutely launch. Having wireless internet everywhere you go, so that it becomes woven moreso into everyday life, no matter where you are, would be a very interesting experiment. Especially now that so many PDAs have WiFi.
I agree with Roland Tanglao that paid WiFi is doomed. Who needs to pay for something as ridiculously cheap as WiFi? SBC in the U.S. is now considering moving to a flat rate $2/mo for their WiFi hotspots, an amount that to me is baffling. They are also talking about expanding from 3900 to 20,000 hotspots between 2004-2006. Hopefully entire cities will launch their free infrastructure in that same time period anyway and just declare it public utility like the streets and parks.