For Immediate Release: April 21, 2015
Media Contact: Jess Montejano, Legislative Aide - 415-554-7752, Jess.Montejano@sfgov.org
Supervisor Mark Farrell Calls for Economic Report to Develop Vision and Support for a “Gigabit City” in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO – At today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Mark Farrell will publicly call on the 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 at least a Gigabit speed Internet connection.
“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?”
Supervisor Farrell is specifically asking the Budget and Legislative Analyst Office 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. 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,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell.
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 “WiFi 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.”
Supervisor Farrell expects the report to be released this summer.