Monday, July 09, 2007


Below is a list of 19 problems or issues with the proposed agreement between SF C&C and Google/Earthlink to provide "free" wireless internet access to the City's residents.

The list was compiled by public citizen Kimo Crossman, an sfwillie'sblog hero, who has scrutinized the agreement to find the true public costs and benefits. The remainder of this post are Kimo's words. (Three cheers for Kimo.)

The reference to the Legislative Analyst (LA) memo is part of the packet located here (July 11th Budget and Finance Committee 1PM meeting):

1 Per LA Memo: Controller's report significantly overstates savings to citizens.
2 Per LA Memo and ACLU: Privacy concerns not addressed
3 Per LA Memo: DTIS and Earthlink agree to performance criteria after contract approval with no board input
4 No outdoor coverage requirements in contract
5 No no indoor coverage requirements which is where most people use computers, Will Earthlink pay for DSL for those who can't get indoor coverage?
6 Free 500kb/s speed is already an option in the revised contract
7 Mountain View has free 1,000k from Google, Why not San Francisco?
8 Pole agreement is actually exclusive to Earthlink because additional mountings by other vendors may not interfere in anyway with EarthLink devices. Earthlink will get most of the desired poles and building tops.
9 Budget Analyst report says that the agreement is a Franchise - this requires additional city procedures that are not being followed by this contract.
10 Why aren't city services part of this contract? Prediction: city will issue a Sole Source contract to Earthlink right after this deal goes through - basically subsidizing the Free WiFi.
11 EarthLink is playing both sides of the game by providing the infrastructure and retail services - this is a conflict of interest.
12 Google has exclusive free access - why not let other providers compete to provide this as well like MSN, Yahoo, Anchor Free?
13 CPE which will help indoor coverage (only sometimes) will cost between $100-$150 for the Free access.
14 Per LA Memo: Revenue from Earthlink in range of 150k-220k + Pole rental 100k = 250k-320k annually or 1.2M for 4 years rather than the 2M for 4 years in press releases.
15 No requirement for a network solution that is disaster tolerant or uses green concepts like solar panels for the network design.
16 No requirement to use city fiber in the creation of the network.
17 Proof of Concept should occur before any contract for a complete network is executed just like in Philly.
18 Every MuniWifi rollout to date has resulted in negative press with people unimpressed with the reliability of the network and the need to "manage expectations"
19 Eight years is too long when other wireless technologies are on the near horizon - four years would be more appropriate.

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