Monday, May 14, 2007


Mayor Newsom is eager to provide free wireless internet access to the people of San Francisco. To this end he is promoting an exclusive franchise agreement with Earthlink/Google to offer 300K wireless (as opposed to 56K dialup) for free and and 1,000K for something like $21.00 per month.

Earthlink/Google receives the right to put up poles and exclusive access to a presumably large advertising audience.

In the couple of months that I’ve been paying attention, the franchise deal is being advocated as a way of delivering internet service (of any kind) to poor people, especially poor school kids, many of whom are black or Hispanic.

So the franchise agreement is presented a matter of social justice.

To its supporters, the question is, Should poor kids have access to the internet?

To critics, the question is, How good a deal is this for San Francisco?

Today there was a hearing before the Board of Supervisors’ Budget Committee about whether to move the proposal forward to the full board.

To Mayor Newsom the deal would be a feather in his cap, an important resume item in his search for higher office. The Board, generally at odds with the mayor is exploring an alternative plan.

The clip below shows the testimony of Kimo Crossman, one of sfmike’s heroes, and a star of his Civic Center Blog.

According to sfmike, Kimo was instrumental in creating public skepticism about the proposed deal.

Kimo points out, among other things, that despite the sales pitch, there is nothing in the proposed contract that guarantees coverage to all San Franciscans.

Check out Civic Center Blog for coverage of the rally on City Hall steps of proposal supporters, prior to going inside for the hearing.

The rally was organized by the Mayor’s reelection campaign.

[I love my cable internet (6000-8000K) service and I don’t have a laptop or blackberry or anything like that, so the presence of WiFi service won’t mean much to me unless it brings down the price of my cable. I had a bad experience with Earthlink and I wouldn’t to do business with them again.]

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1 comment:

kimo said...

*blush* thanks... Since Daly continued the matter until July 11th - looks like there will be plenty of time to change the contract.