[Dewayne-Net] San Francisco leaders voice concerns about Wi-

Dewayne Hendricks dewayne at warpspeed.com
Tue Dec 20 08:25:41 PST 2005

Fi project
Reply-To: dewayne at warpspeed.com

San Francisco leaders voice concerns about Wi-Fi project
Agency members want to avoid a restrictive franchise deal
News Story by Stephen Lawson

DECEMBER 19, 2005 (IDG NEWS SERVICE) - San Francisco's plan for
citywide Wi-Fi ran into some friction Friday from a local regulatory

The government of the City and County of San Francisco is readying a
request for proposal (RFP) for the wireless network, which is
intended to provide free or affordable Internet access throughout
most of the city. Several possible partners, including Google Inc.,
EarthLink Inc., Motorola Inc. and a local nonprofit project called
SFLan, have already expressed interest in the project through an
earlier request for information. The San Francisco plan would become
one of the largest rollouts yet of government-initiated broadband, a
concept that has generated heated political discussion in the past
several months.

At a hearing Friday, some members of San Francisco's Local Agency
Formation Commission (LAFCO) grilled Chris Vein, director of the
city's Department of Technology and Information Services (DTIS),
about the process of deciding how to build and operate the network.

LAFCO, made up of San Francisco county supervisors and members of the
public, has a broad oversight role, including approval of district
boundaries and annexation of land as well as contract approvals. The
agency's aim in the hearing was to stimulate discussion, supervisor
and LAFCO member Jake McGoldrick said in an interview after the meeting.

County Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and other LAFCO members said they
fear a deal like San Francisco's current franchise agreement with
cable operator Comcast Corp., in which the board of supervisors has
been presented with already negotiated franchise deals that it must
approve or vote down. DTIS handles cable franchise administration and
other communications and IT responsibilities for the city as well as
spearheading the Wi-Fi project.


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