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Internet for all San Franciscans? Here’s how it could happen

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 7, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

San Francisco Chronicle – June 7, 2017

Written by Rachel Swan

In a city where so much information is tweeted, emailed, Skyped or texted, thousands of people are getting left behind.

There are kids who trudge to the library to find an Internet connection so they can do their homework. Mothers who have to choose each month between buying a Muni pass and paying the Wi-Fi bill. Seniors still using sputtery dial-up service.

Their stories are helping propel Mark Farrell, San Francisco supervisor and rumored 2019 mayoral candidate, as the primary backer and evangelist for a citywide broadband network that would treat the Internet as if it were a public roadway: The city would lay fiber-optic cable underground and contract with private companies to deliver fast, inexpensive service to all residents and businesses. …

“The nice thing about Wi-Fi is that it costs less up front, and you can install it before the next election,” said Christopher Mitchell, a community broadband expert at the Institute for Local Self Reliance, an advocacy group in Minneapolis.

But he noted that Farrell could face intense opposition from big telecom companies like Comcast and AT&T, which provide most of the Internet service and infrastructure in San Francisco.

“There will be a scare campaign involving print mailers, telephone calls and radio messages, saying that community broadband will threaten city finances,” Mitchell said.

Read the full story here.