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="http://www.sfgov.org/techconnec>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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