Thursday, July 12, 2007


I watched BOS Budget and Finance yesterday, regarding WiFi, expecting to see a fight, and an actual meeting broke out! No kidding! It was, like, grown-ups.

Instead of the crappy long-term deal which Mayor Newsom “negotiated” with Earthlink, we might actually get a better, shorter-term deal.

Even the Earthlink guy seemed happy to have a serious negotiating partner (Board of Supes).

Board President Aaron Peskin, along with Ammiano and Mirkarimi treated the public advocates--Kimo, ACLU, EFF-- as valuable information resources, not nuisances.

Below is Kimo Crossman’s report on the meeting. [On a day when Kimo was being attacked by the Hearst flagship Examiner for “asking too many questions,” Kimo continued working to improve the WiFi deal for all San Franciscans.]

Kimo’s Report:

"Bridge the Divide, Before City Wide"

There was a productive hearing at Budget and Finance today (7/11)
watch here:

There were no fake Wi-Fi Now demonstrations. Oblivious seniors weren't bused in from their jamboree sessions.

Peskin started by saying he did not want to see another city franchise and then discussed some significant potential improvements to the deal which EarthLink *is considering* most of these were announced over the weekend - but also improvements to the privacy on the free tier to at least match premium tier privacy (still not even close to address ACLU/EFF concerns) ,an ability for the city to purchase network after the 8 year term and 500k free speed min. and that the city receive the same rental fee for its poles that PG&E negotiates (Most Favored Nation) as well substitution for the standard city indemnity agreement. Most importantly a requirement that Service Level Agreements SLA - performance standards be agreed to *before the contract is executed* and that the Board has an opportunity to *give thumbs up or down* after the Proof of Concept before additional network build-out may occur - hopefully informed by an independent audit of OUTDOOR and especially INDOOR access.

ACLU showed up once again with detailed suggestions to improve Privacy and Free Speech which was endorsed by EFF. "The poor shouldn't have to pay with their privacy for free internet access." see here:

For the first time in two years, the Supervisors appeared receptive to finally addressing these concerns.

Gilbert Criswell raised concerns about privacy and why the speed was only 500k vs the 1,000k Mountain View and other cities are receiving.

Kimo Crossman mentioned that Google previously indicated that PG&E in Mtn View quoted to Google a price of $5,000 a pole (vs the $99 a pole SF is getting for the city poles). Also, that the network needed a tested Proof of Concept - "Bridge the Divide, Before CityWide" with an independent audit, board approval for up/down and a ban on overuse of Trade Secrets claims to prevent transparency - remember Google claimed 90/100 pages of original proposal were Trade Secrets.

EarthLink spoke honestly and were open to the Supervisor's input and acknowledged they still had some challenges with coverage for geography and indoors and that they were committed to resolving them and indicated they would report back to Peskin on the requests early next week for a Budget hearing on the 25th... The Wi-Fi Categorical Exemption Environmental appeal is now set for the 24th. If EarthLink accepts the changes, the Supervisors will sponsor a resolution amending the contract accordingly.

DTIS at this point, is not part of the discussion.

Mirkarimi asked about starting with 1,000k speed free vs 500k or 300k and pointed out that the deal is only between EarthLink and the city (Google is buying access to EarthLink's network for the free tier).

Rumors still circulate that the Mayor may put the initiative on the November Ballot (deadline August 3rd) if the Supervisors do not approve the deal.

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