A report released Tuesday on how to provide free Internet access to all San Franciscans found that a public fiber-optic network, while costlier, is more likely to reduce the city's digital divide, while a public-private partnership would leave much of the work up to private companies.
“Access to fast and affordable Internet is no longer a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity,” said District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who is leading the effort to provide all San Francisco residents with Internet access. “As we are building the infrastructure of the 21st century here in San Francisco, I believe the residents of our city should be the owners."
The question remains, however: Exactly just how much of it should the city own?
An advisory panel, formed Tuesday, will determine whether the benefits of a public-private partnership outweigh the costs of a public fiber-optic network.
The new report by the Board of Supervisors' budget and legislative analyst, which was requested by Farrell, analyzed the estimated cost of citywide gigabit-speed Internet service made available through a public, private and public-private partnership model.