SF Examiner Publishes My Anti-Public Owned Wi-Fi Network

Dear Everyone;

Saturday the SF Examiner had an article about how the proposed privately sponsored Wi-Fi network could become a City publicly owned Wi-Fi network. I wrote a few choice words about that type of a fiasco and the SF Examiner agreed and published.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian


Letters: November 21, 2006
Private Wi-Fi
Supervisors McGoldrick and Mirkarimi [“Showdown likely over Internet access,” Nov. 18] want a City owned Wi-Fi network because — “I would be willing to gamble at least a majority of the public would want to see this provided.”
San Francisco is littered with potholes and runs the “on-time” Muni while failing to keep the Niners. Suddenly a miracle occurs and The City will have the technical capabilities to run a Wi-Fi network and keep up the technological changes — this topped off by “free access.”
The narrow bandwidth people attracted to run The City Wi-Fi network will love red-tape, make decisions by committee while doing CYA. This excludes new taxes on small businesses to create the “free access” system, build it and pay the bureaucracy to administer the Wi-Fi network.
Let private enterprises do their thing instead.
Ron Getty


Showdown Likely Over Internet Access
Adam Martin, The Examiner
Read more by Adam Martin
Nov 18, 2006 3:00 AM (1 day ago)
Current rank: # 187 of 7,887 articles
SAN FRANCISCO - A showdown may be on the horizon between The City’s legislative body and the mayor over who should own a free, public Internet service that all agree San Francisco should implement.

At a meeting of the Local Agency Formation Commission on Friday, Supervisors Jake McGoldrick and Ross Mirkarimi indicated that the Board of Supervisors may soon vote to make San Francisco’s proposed public Internet service the property of The City.
The move would fly in the face of efforts by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office to contract with Google and Earthlink to create a free wireless Internet, or Wi-Fi, service citywide.
Critics of the mayor’s plans for a free Wi-Fi network argue that the companies that would administer the network don’t have San Franciscans’ best interests at heart, but would put their own interests in making a profit first. Proponents of the privately owned network argue that it would save The City money, and that the administration of complicated technological systems is best left to experts.
“It’s inevitable that crunch time is going to come pretty soon,” McGoldrick said, while hearing a progress report on the Wi-Fi project Monday from San Francisco Department of Telecommunications policy analyst Brian Roberts.
McGoldrick and Mirkarimi urged Roberts to begin working on a proposal for a city-owned system. “I would be willing to gamble that at least the majority of the municipality will want to see this provided,” Mirkarimi said. He indicated that the board would likely take a vote calling for such a proposal, but refrained from saying when.
Newsom’s office maintains that the project is best left in the hands of private experts. “Wireless Internet technologies are among the most dynamic and rapidly evolving. In that context, we have to ask ourselves, is that city government’s core competency,” Newsom’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Petrucione, said Friday.
If corporations were to provide San Francisco’s public Internet access, The City would pay no fees, under a tentative agreement with Earthlink and Google. The service would include free service and a paid, premium service level. The companies would make revenue from the fees for the premium service and by selling advertisements on the free service.
Activist Kimo Crossman said during the hearing that San Francisco is a very desirable market, and that the proposed deal does not meet the standards The City should hold for itself. “We should hold out for the best deal possible, whether city-owned or not,” he said.