Coalition calls on San Francisco
to reject Google/Earthlink deal
From Public Net San Francisco
January 25, 2007
Today, Public Net San Francisco, a coalition of various community
groups and Internet professionals, insisted that the City of San
Francisco cancel the pending Google/Earthlink monopoly WiFi deal,
and instead use the Citys existing high speed fiber optic
network as the backbone to build a truly modern, fast, and free,
public communications system.
Groups releasing the statement included the San Francisco Peoples
Organization (SFPO), Our City, the community wireless network
SFLan, and Internet services provider United Layer.
Their statement follows closely on the heels of a report just
released by the San Francisco Budget Analysts Office, which
makes clear that the Google/Earthlink deal will result in an inferior
monopoly franchise that will give San Franciscans much slower
access than nearly all other cities providing municipal Internet,
and more importantly, will fail to serve the intended core goal
of the project to make certain that all San Franciscans,
regardless of their income, get free fast and equal access to
The report states that the Department of Telecommunications and
Information Services (DTIS) acted far too hastily in adopting
the monopoly deal, without seeking sufficient input from the public,
and notably failing to include possibilities for using over 35
miles of city owned fiber optic cable to build a much more robust
system, that could be owned by the public, and could provide all
San Franciscans with free Internet service at least ten times
faster access speeds than the Google/Earthlink plan. The City
and its residents should not give away its ability to self-determine
its destiny. The people deserve a real choice.
Said Bruce Wolfe of the San Francisco Peoples Organization,
I dont get it. DTIS spent over a year coming up with
this plan and it doesnt even serve its primary goal of making
sure that everybody in San Francisco, regardless of income, gets
free and equal Internet access. Smooth video, and clear phone
calls, are becoming basic uses of the Internet. This deal provides
neither to nonpaying users, leaving them in the digital dust.
Eric Brooks with the local grassroots organization Our City stated,
After nearly a century of San Franciscans suffering rip-offs
and incredibly bad service under the monopoly control of our public
utilities by corporations like PG&E, Comcast, and AT&T,
it amazes me that DTIS can stand there with a straight face and
try to convince us that we should let a multinational corporate
partnership own and control our new public communications system.
Tim Pozar with United Layer, the Internet services provider that
installed a free Internet system for users in San Franciscos
Alice Griffith housing project, stated, The Budget Analysts
report shows clearly what we have been saying to the City for
over a year now. If we go for municipal ownership of a system
that makes use of all the Citys public assets, including
the high speed ring of fiber optic cable lying only half used
right under our feet, we can get a vastly superior, and 10 to
100 times faster system, than the clunker being offered to us
by Earthlink and Google.
Ralf Muehlen, who already provides free Internet access to hundreds
of San Franciscans through the nonprofit community wireless network
SFLan concluded, The big problem with the Earthlink system
is that it uses a slow, wireless-only backbone that cannot accommodate
even today's needs let alone the needs of the next 16 years. 300
kilobits per second is so 1997; it'll be utterly ridiculous in
2023, which is how long Earthlink's monopoly will last. Earthlink
has little incentive to upgrade, and their non-fiber backbone
has no spare capacity. A hybrid network, that uses both wireless
and existing fiber can support much higher speeds and is more
robust. We already paid for the City's fiber with our taxes, we
should now put it to good use.
San Francisco Peoples
Organization - 2940 16th St. #314, SF, CA 94103.
Press Contact: Bruce Wolfe, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Our City - 1028-A Howard St.,
SF, CA 94103.
Press Contact: Eric Brooks, email@example.com
United Layer - 200 Paul
Ave. #110, SF, CA 94124.
Contact: Tim Pozar, firstname.lastname@example.org
SFLan - 116 Sheridan Ave.,
SF, CA 94129.
Contact: Ralf Muehlen, email@example.com