City of San Francisco Calls for “Gigabit City” Economic Report

SAN FRANCISCO – Supervisor Mark Farrell publicly called on the city of San Francisco's Budget and Legislative Analyst Office to detail financial options and concrete steps for San Francisco to deliver Gigabit Internet speeds to residents and businesses citywide. This plan will detail how all homes and businesses in every neighborhood across San Francisco will have the opportunity to be connected with connections of at least 1 Gbps.

“I believe access to fast, reliable, and affordable Internet should be viewed as an economic right,” said Supervisor Farrell. “How can we expect our residents, in particular those that are having challenges breaking into the workforce, to compete for San Francisco jobs if they can’t even access the Internet?”

The Budget and Legislative Analyst Office was asked to look at three options to finance this initiative:

  1. Public Option. An option where the expansion of the city’s municipal broadband network would be purely financed by city spending, or through a dedicated revenue measure, or measures.

  2. Private Option. An option where a private company, or companies, would be tasked with financing the expansion of the broadband network.

  3. Hybrid Model. An option that would be a public-private partnership where both public and private resources could be used, or leveraged, to finance the expansion of the city’s broadband network.

“Data shows approximately 100,000 San Franciscans lack Internet access at home," said Supervisor Mark Farrell. "These San Franciscans are at a severe disadvantage in today’s world, and I believe we need to do everything in the city’s power to close the digital divide and expand Internet access to all corners of San Francisco.”

Supervisor Farrell has been a leader on the Board of Supervisors in expanding broadband connectivity, and working to close the digital divide. He first started working on the issue with his “Wi-Fi in Parks Project” that was a public-private partnership with Google, which now provides 31 parks, plazas, and open spaces with free #SFWiFi for residents and visitors. And, Supervisor Farrell’s office was the only member of the Board of Supervisors to serve on the city's recently assembled Connectivity Steering Committee that provided the city's "Connectivity Plan" to build out our current network by connecting municipal buildings and implement a plan to take advantage and fund the implementation of the “Dig Once ordinance.”

The report is expected to be released this summer.


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