Following through on Mayor Newsom's commitment to create universal, affordable broadband access for all of San Francisco, the City today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to construct a citywide wireless network that will provide free or affordable broadband internet access to all San Franciscans.
"We are committed to bring universal, affordable wireless broadband internet access to all San Francisco's residents and businesses, and today we are one step closer to making good on that commitment," said Mayor Newsom. "Internet access is the best way to connect to the new knowledge-based economy. Providing that access citywide is the first phase of our TechConnect strategy to reach out to all of our communities."
TechConnect is a strategy to promote digital inclusion by ensuring affordable internet access, affordable hardware, community-sensitive training and support, and relevant content to all San Franciscans, especially low-income and disadvantaged residents.
The RFP is the result of significant input from the best and brightest minds in the community and in the wireless industry. Today's issuance follows a thorough Request for Information and Comment (RFI/C) process this fall that yielded 26 industry proposals and nearly 300 public comments, as well as a series of public hearings and meetings to provide additional public comment.
"The tremendous enthusiasm about this project is a testament to the importance of affordable internet access," said Mayor Newsom. "We have learned a great deal over the past few months, and I'm proud to issue an RFP that reflects the insights that San Franciscans provided and the standards that San Franciscans deserve."
The RFP sets forth the specifications of the broadband network, addressing issues including the network's business model and services, coverage area, open access policies, network infrastructure, customer services, security and privacy, as well as contributions the network provider will make regarding the other important elements of the TechConnect strategy.
Today's RFP issuance begins a 60-day process to determine how the City will achieve affordable wireless broadband access throughout San Francisco. The City intends to select a proposal and commence negotiations early next year.