Making the internet more accessible

Anonymous's picture

I just found this article about a really great movement to make the internet accessible via free wi-fi hot spots to areas with people who might not be able to afford their own internet service.  In a society where easy access to information becomes more and more important to all aspects of life (work, school, entertainment, etc.) it is, as the article mentions, great to have more and more ways for people to not be out of the loop.  In fact, people who do not have easy access to the internet probably would not be able to benefit from sites such as Reset San Francisco because they would not be able to get the information as readily and frequently nor would they be able to post their views on issues that matter to them as easily!

ExcelsiorMom's picture

Yes, in fact, wasn't there

Yes, in fact, wasn't there some proposed deal with Yahoo or some similar company where they were going to invest in free wi-fi throughout the city, but voters or the Board of Sups squashed the deal? 

Phil Ting's picture

Free WiFi

The voters passed the ballot measure which I helped champion with Mayor Newsom.  However, Google pulled out after we could not figure out the best way to implement Free WiFi.  We are looking at options in our Assessor's office how we can offer WiFi to the public who come into our offices.

CJC's picture

Access to the internet is

Access to the internet is gradually becoming an issue of human right. Whether or not this classification which has ben mouthed by many, including Hilary Clinton is appropriate, it has important implications. Universal access to the internet, even just within this country, could be a great leveler. Previously, the poor and disenfranchized people in society were shut out of public discourse as the result of an information gap, the internet can correct this by making information widely available to all. Free public wifi is a great way to do this and hopefully cities and providers can come to agreements that will make this possible nationwide.

However, this is not enough. The poorest people in this country do not have laptops, blackberries and Iphones and yet they are the people that can benefit most in gaining access to the internet. Many people in this country still do not have access. To address this public internet access points must be widely distributed in libraries and other public spaces so that access really does become universal.

Phil Ting's picture

WiFi in Assessor's Office in City Hall

Next time you are in City Hall, stop by our lobby (Room 190) and you can access free wi-fi!  Tell me how you like it.

Digital Divide

Agreed, digital divide issues are huge, across people from different socio-economic backgrounds, races, and of different ages. Its not just access to Internet signal, its also an issue of devices. Until prices for devices like smartphones come down to a level that even those under the poverty line can have access to them, huge swaths of the population of SF, not just rural areas, will be left out of important conversations like the ones going on at Reset SF.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137