.........the Mayor of San Francisco!!!www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/10/04/GOOGLE.TMP
Fierce Wi-Fi fight expected in S.F.
Mayor hints lawsuits could hinder plan for affordable, high-speed wireless Internet access
- Verne Kopytoff, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
Mayor Gavin Newsom said that he expects opponents of San Francisco's ambitious plan to blanket the city with affordable, high-speed wireless Internet access to file lawsuits against the effort.
There is a "very organized effort to stop this," Newsom said at a press conference Monday at City Hall. He then described the opposition as disgraceful and said that he is bracing for a war of rhetoric and lobbying.
Newsom expects San Francisco to be sued by opponents of the plan, which include some Internet service providers that fear that their subscription businesses will suffer in the face of a cheaper, or even free, alternative.
Last week, San Francisco closed a 45-day request for information period in which companies could offer their ideas about blanketing the city with wireless Internet service, known as Wi-Fi. Newsom believes that such connections will add to San Francisco's technology credentials and help propel residents -- especially poor ones -- into the digital age.
"This is inevitable," Newsom said. "This is long overdue. This is a fundamental right."
Google, the Mountain View search engine, is among the 24 companies that submitted proposals. As part of its plan, Google offered to provide free wireless service at no cost to the city, potentially recouping its costs from online advertising and renting its network to other companies for a fee.
Cingular Wireless, Ericsson, Earthlink and Motorola also threw their hats into the ring, as did several startups.
Newsom said that he is creating a committee of up to seven people who will review the Wi-Fi proposals. They will decide the next step in the next three weeks, he said.
Options include opening up a more formal round of bidding, or if none of the current offers is acceptable, starting the process over again. A company chosen as a winner would ultimately have to get the approval of various government agencies, including the Board of Supervisors, the mayor said.
Chris Vein, who heads San Francisco's technology office, declined to give many details about the proposals, citing the need to go over the documents first to excise any company secrets. The proposals, he said, range from very detailed to mere overviews.
None of the companies that submitted proposals offered to share money they get from their Wi-Fi service -- such as advertising or subscription revenue -- with the city, Vein said. However, Google has offered to pay for use of city infrastructure such as the placement of antennas on light poles.
San Francisco's Wi-Fi network should be running sometime next year, Vein said.
Despite the mayor's fears of lawsuits over Wi-Fi, neither of the major telecommunications companies in the Bay Area said that they have plans for a fight. Spokesmen for both SBC and Comcast said that their companies have competitive advantages over the proposed Wi-Fi network, including faster download speeds.
"We look at it as one more competitor in a crowded field of competitors," said Andrew Johnson, a Comcast spokesman.
Now, does that answer your question about whether you should be doing it or not, regardless of how easy it is to do?
Yeah, government should provide FREE internet access since it is a BASIC RIGHT and hamper businesses engaged in capitalism. Yeah, that's what we have government for. FREE INTERNET!!