A San Francisco city panel has selected a bid from search-engine giant Google and ISP EarthLink to build out a Wi-Fi network throughout the city.

The Google/EarthLink bid had been monitored closely throughout the broadband community because Google had indicated it would provide wireless Internet access for free to users willing to receive Google-sold advertisements. In addition to this free-access model, EarthLink will provide significantly better data rates to subscribers paying about $20 per month, according to media reports.

San Francisco's five-member TechConnect Committee reportedly chose the Google/EarthLink bid over offers from five other finalists: Communication Bridge Global; NextWLAN; Razortooth Communications; MetroFi; and SF Metro Connect, a partnership that includes SeaKay, Cisco Systems and IBM.