Tuesday, July 10, 2007


First bridge the divide,
Then go citywide.

Once again City Powers plays the race card, this time to advance the “free” WiFi deal with Google/Earthlink.

City Powers says the deal will “bridge the digital divide” which keeps poor people, mostly of color, from accessing the internet.

A commenter brought up how in her neighborhood, Bay View Hunters Point, she and her kids couldn’t use the computers at the public library because it wasn’t safe for them to walk to the nearby branch.

Problem: unsafe streets; Solution: free WiFi. It’s, like, City Powers accepts the idea that BVHP residents are prisoners in their own homes.

If this is the way we want to go, we should at least guarantee that the free WiFi actually does bridge the divide.

We must insist that infrastructure be installed and service rolled-out in neighborhoods suffering most from the digital divide, BEFORE, AND AS A CONDITION OF, installation of the system in more lucrative neighborhoods.

Until we know, for a fact, that the digital divide has successfully been bridged, it is only a promise, made to a community that’s sick of broken promises.

Without such a provision the Google/Earthlink deal holds as much hope for BVHP as the T-Third, another cruel joke played on poor people of color.

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