The Palo Alto Daily News reported today that the city of Mountain View approved a plan to allow Google to provide free city wide Wi Fi access throughout their city. Under the plan, Google will install Wi-Fi antennas on 350 telephone poles throughout Mountain View. There wasn't any mention on timeframe of when this would happen.
A bunch of American cities are on the record with their intentions of going wireless. That list includes Philadelphia and San Francisco. Already there are a lot of smaller neighborhood based efforts, but none of those are purely funded through private means and I don't believe any of those services have materialized yet. Philadelphia was first to announce their plans, but quickly ended up in court when the local Internet ISP sued them to protect their business line.
Personally, I think going completely wireless in a small suburban city is a much more interesting experiment than doing it in a more metropolitan area. There's enough going on and enough channels for word to get around in a major city, but in the smaller cities that have equivalent amenities to a larger counterpart, they can do everything they can to recreate the big city on a more personal scale, but they don't have (and don't want) the population density that's so important in the "vibe" of most cities.
Can widespread wireless access enable a small city to copy not only the structure, but also the "vibe" that creates life in the communities of that city?