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TechConnect - anywhere anytime connectivity in San Francisco
Posted: 18-Aug-2005 [Source: SFGOV]

[Mayor, Gavin Newsom, continues spearheading a drive to bring "univerval, affordable wireless broadband access to all San Franciscans at no cost or minimal cost to the City and residents."]

San Francisco -- Following through on a pledge made in last year's State of the City address, Mayor Gavin Newsom launched a new initiative to provide universal, affordable wireless broadband access to all San Franciscans at no cost or minimal cost to the City and residents. The Request for Information and Comment released today begins a 45-day public process that invites all interested parties from the public, private and non-profit sectors to offer their ideas for how San Francisco can provide a universal, affordable wireless broadband network.

Marking a significant change from hotspots or hot zones, where WiFi access is available in proscribed areas, San Francisco's initiative seeks ubiquitous connectivity anywhere, anytime - an especially difficult challenge in a city renowned for its hilly topography. In addition to the seamless connectivity, the San Francisco WiFi initiative seeks to provide portable connectivity via handheld, PDA or cell phone, as well as mobile or nomadic connectivity at an affordable cost for all residents, including low income San Franciscans.

Mayor Newsom called the City's WiFi initiative a model to the country, saying "As the United States lags behind other nations in equipping our citizens for the global economy, San Francisco understands that universal, affordable, wireless broadband access is essential to boost our economic, social and educational opportunities." The Mayor also acknowledged the WiFi initiative as a step toward bridging the digital divide, saying "Providing universal, affordable, wireless broadband access is the just first phase of our new TechConnect strategy that will bring the promise of technology to low income and disadvantaged citizens."

Supervisor Tom Ammiano said, "I have long been excited about the possibilities and opportunities broadband can provide our residents and am happy to work with the Mayor on an issue that will, for the first time, give all San Francisco residents and businesses affordable broadband service."

Following the model of "Project Connect," TechConnect will connect all San Franciscans to the social, educational, informational and economic opportunities available online by creating public/private partnerships to provide technology equipment to those residents who can least afford it; by providing tools to help users make sense of the incredible array of information found on the internet; and by providing training support to teach residents how to use and maintain the equipment necessary to access the wealth of opportunity available online.

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