Is Low-Cost, High-Speed Internet an Economic Right?

This opinion piece is misguided because he didn’t fully read and appreciate the analysis by the City of San Francisco. Broadband Internet it not a utility; nor should it be considered one. Broadband Internet Service can be sold in a competitive market allowing for choice and price competition to consumers. A utility would create a regulated service with little choice and ever-increasing prices. Also, “Gigabit” bandwidth is not a necessity at the moment. Bandwidth at or above the current FCC definition is adequate for almost all of the population, and bandwidth at 4 times the definition would work for 99% of the population.

I agree with many of the premises the author claims as to the benefits of broadband service, but I draw the line that it needs to be under control and subsidized by the government. The City makes a good case for building and operating an open-access fiber infrastructure through a public-private partnership which I agree. The result will be the same but how we get there will be less risky for taxpayers and benefit residents of the city more. 


What if I told you that 100,000 San Franciscans, including thousands of public school students, do not have electricity or water at home? I imagine many of you would be appalled and call for our government to step in and help. Now, substitute the Internet for water and electricity. Would you still be upset? According to the latest analysis from the city of San Francisco, more than a 100,000 residents in the land of Twitter and Salesforce, do not have access to the Internet at home. Fifty thousand more have sluggish dial-up speeds.

How is this possible? And who is responsible for fixing the situation? Continue reading

Will San Francisco realise its dream of a city-wide Gigabit network?

© Flickr/cc-licence/Gunther Hagleitner

San Francisco performed an impartial and thorough review of  different options to deliver broadband service throughout the city and determined open-access is the least riskiest and best way to offer broadband service in the city. This is just an analysis with recommendation. The city council will ultimately determine which direction to go, and as we know it may not always be the most prudent for citizens.

  • New report looks at financing models for a municipal Gigabit network
  • 12% of the city’s population does not have Internet access at home
  • Public and private development and ownership investigated
  • Network build-out costs range from $393m to $867m

Given its proximity to Silicon Valley, and the large numbers of wealthy tech founders who have managed to push up local housing prices to astronomical heights, you would think that San Francisco would be a shining beacon in the world of high-speed broadband and connected cities. Think again. Around 12 per cent of the population of San Francisco do not have any Internet access at home, and an additional 6 per cent only have access to dial-up speed Internet. But things may be about to change; and we don’t mean the selective, cherry-picked approach from Google Fiber. City Supervisor Mark Farrell had asked the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office for a financial analysis of a municipal fibre network to provide Internet access to all residential, commercial and industrial premises in San Francisco at speeds of a least 1Gbps, with the capacity to increase in the future as the definition of high speed or broadband changes. He wanted to evaluate three different approaches: Continue reading

S.F. Plans to Speed Up Installation of Fiber Optic Network

Trenching for a fiber optic installation in Wo...

Trenching for a fiber optic installation in Worcester, Massachusetts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A plan that goes before San Francisco supervisors next week would speed up the installation of a fiber optic network in the city.

Under the proposal, the city’s Department of Technology would be required in many instances to make sure conduits for a fiber network are installed when trenches are dug for electrical or sewer work, according to a story in the San Francisco Examiner.

The goal, city officials say, is to expand the existing fiber network to provide a strong, quick wireless Internet service throughout the city.

Currently, San Francisco has 140 miles of fiber conduit that connects police stations, office buildings and public safety radio sites. The system provides free public WiFi along Market Street, in public buildings such as City Hall and in 32 public places where service was launched last week.

The “dig once” proposal was approved Monday by the supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

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