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First slow step for high-speed, low-cost Internet

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Mayor Mark Farrell visits the Mission District on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif.

San Francisco is taking its first step in providing affordable, high-speed Internet to residents and businesses by issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) on Wednesday to see who will get the chance to build The City’s fiber network.

Mayor Mark Farrell has been the lead sponsor advocate of the project, including when he was a supervisor for District 2. Farrell said Wednesday that providing fast and reliable Internet for residents, will help bridge the digital divide that still exists in The City:

“The reality is we have over 100,000 San Francisco residents right now without Internet access at home. Predominantly minority, predominately low-income neighborhoods.”

According to city officials, about 12 percent of residents lack Internet access, and about 15 percent of students in the San Francisco Unified School District have no Internet access as well.

Farrell also wants to have citywide fiber network that prioritizes net neutrality and privacy protects despite the Federal Communications Commission last year repealing net neutrality.

In the RFQ, city officials expect that the construction and service contract will last for 15 years.

Officials estimate it will take three to five years to build out The City’s fiber network.

A consultant hired by The City estimates it will cost $1.9 billion to build the fiber network.

Also on Wednesday, Farrell visited three businesses in the Mission District, including Bakery Le Major, to address remarks made by President Donald Trump during his State of the Union Address regarding immigration.

Farrell said:

“We will not allow our law enforcement to cooperate with ICE despite what our president might be saying in Washington, DC. We have a different approach here in San Francisco, the right approach.”

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