Updated

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Here’s the Merc story about how Sunnyvale’s 130,000 residents are about to get free wireless Internet service.

The network, built by Mountain View’s MetroFi, has already been installed in areas serving about a third of households in the 24-square-mile city, which is home to 130,000 residents. The rest of the city’s residential and business districts will be able to access the network by spring, MetroFi Chief Executive Chuck Haas said.

For free access, customers must accept a half-inch advertising strip — much like “banner” ads commonly found on Web pages — at the top of their Web browser at all times. MetroFi plans to run local and national ads on the service, but will not track the browsing habits of its customers, Haas said. The only thing MetroFi will know is that their customers are in Sunnyvale, “which is valuable to local advertisers.”

So, it seems, Sunnyvale citizens are second class citizens doing fine, compared to those in Mountain View, where the world’s biggest search engine is headquartered. Last month, the search engine won approval from the city of Mountain View to build a free WiFi network there. But there was no mention of advertising in the report that examined the deal.

Update: Rejigged wording above, to be fair. After all, someone just pointed out to us that Google’s network specs for Mountain View show only 300kbps, compared to Metrofi’s over 1mbps for the same thing. Frankly, for a tad bit more advertising, we’d probably prefer the latter. And Google hasn’t deployed yet, so we don’t really know what Mountain View will get.