San Francisco launches affordable wireless initiative

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday formally launched the city's bid to establish affordable, perhaps even free, citywide wireless service within the next year.

According to a request for comment and information, the city government will collect the best ideas for how to achieve its goal of a universal wireless broadband network that is cost-effective and that will provide access for citizens, particularly low-income residents, and businesses.

The network, which could cost anywhere between $10 million and $18 million, is also aimed at providing connectivity for city employees and the police and fire departments. However, the city is making no financial commitments at this time.

Newsom has come under fire recently for his perceived inaction on the initiative, dubbed TechConnect, following his state of the city address last October when he said the government "will not stop" until every resident of San Francisco had access to free wireless internet service.

"No San Franciscan should be without a computer and a broadband connection," he said then.

TechConnect plans also include providing affordable hardware, training programs and on-line content "to make sure that all San Franciscans can use their broadband access to the fullest," according to background documents on the initiative.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.


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