San Francisco Mayor Submits Wireless Proposal to Board of Supervisors
Jan 24, 2007 News Release
Mayor Gavin Newsom today submitted legislation that would codify the agreement the city has reached with a Earthlink/Google partnership that would make San Francisco the first major city in the country to offer free universal wireless internet access. The agreement provides for a wireless internet infrastructure to be deployed and maintained by Earthlink throughout San Francisco, at no cost to the taxpayers. Google, Inc will provide a free service tier as well as other innovative applications and services.

Newsom first proposed free wireless in October 2004 as the first step in a larger initiative to create a comprehensive digital inclusion strategy that includes computer hardware, technology training, and internet access targeted at helping bridge the digital divide for low-income communities. The agreement presented to the Board today is the product of a uniquely transparent process begun over a year ago that saw all documents posted regularly online.

Mayor Newsom said, "Free universal wireless internet access is just the critical first step in bridging the digital divide that separates literally hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans from the enormous benefits of technology. I look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors to make free universal wireless a reality."

The wireless agreement marks a significant change from the more typical hotspots or hot zones where WiFi access is available in proscribed areas -- something that is currently available in many cities and municipalities. San Francisco's initiative seeks ubiquitous connectivity anywhere, anytime -- an especially difficult challenge in a city renowned for its hilly topography -- and at no cost to users. The terms of the agreement protects privacy and security of all users, and provides consumer choice through open access.

Universal free wireless is the anchor of Mayor Newsom's < a href=">TechConnect initiative that focuses on "Digital Inclusion" by creating access and providing hardware, content and training for residents without the benefit of real time, consistent access to technology.

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