San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom yesterday announced plans for a Wi-Fi network, called TechConnect, to cover all 49 square miles of the city. The city announced a request for information and comments (PDF) on how to build the network, estimated to cost $10 million to $18 million dollars. In a statement, Newsom said:
TechConnect will connect all San Franciscans to the social, educational, informational and economic opportunities they need to succeed in the increasingly competitive local, national and international economies of the 21st Century. TechConnect will make it possible for every San Franciscan to take advantage of this century’s digital opportunities by connecting people with broadband access at home and work and promoting access to affordable computer hardware, training, and on-line content.
The city lists as "critical goals" the delivery of affordable wireless access to all city residents, especially the disadvantaged, improving the efficienty of government operations, enhancing education, "stimulating private investment and competition" for all broadband services," continuity in case of vendor default, and economic development.
The basic requirements of the system are:
- Wireless access throughout San Francisco for any device equipped with a basic Wi-Fi receiver.
- Average minimum throughput of 1Mbps.
- 95% outdoor coverage
- 90% indoor coverage with a goal of 100% indoor coverage
- coverage in rooms above a second-floor residence or business. "Creative approaches using Wi-Fi or other technology may be needed to meet this requirement."
- Support for service types ranging from residential to government mobile ot premium business.
- Support for "mixed wireless and wired backhaul solution to aggregate Wi-Fi network traffic back to a POP."
- Ability to differentiate between domains and deliver, open, secure or encrypted acces as required.
- Support for state of the art, multi-layer security standards.
- Option for San Francisco to designate certain areas, such as parks and business districts, for free and open access.
- Fault tolerance
- Suport for advanced services
- Optional content filtering, virus blocking, and spam filters
The city is conducting a pre-RFIC meeting on Aug. 31. Final submissions are due by Sept. 28.