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San Francisco needs better Internet

This petition had 569 supporters

San Francisco needs better Internet service.

It’s common knowledge that Internet service in the US is far behind that of other countries — and for a city like San Francisco, the epicenter of technology and innovation— this causes a particularly acute heartache. 

So clearly something needs to be done to improve our Internet service level and infrastructure in San Francisco.

But when Internet service providers come forward with better solutions, they face countless regulatory and competitive roadblocks and end up setting their sights on other cities, or they fold before they can become profitable and compete fully.

Some of the roadblocks to better Internet in San Francisco are:

  • Landlords who create exclusive agreements for large cable and phone Internet providers in return for revenue share, effectively preventing better options for to their residents
  • Service providers who impose contracts on customers, locking them in to poor service, and creating no incentive for improvement
  • Established players who are stagnant, using antiquated infrastructure and repurposing it to provide Internet service
  • A 2-year process for getting certified for right-of-way access, the pace of which prevents small companies from penetrating the market and competing
  • Competitive ISPs being blocked from equal access to poles and conduit
  • An unfair advantage given to providers who enjoy cable and phone franchise rights bestowed upon them to provide Cable and Phone, not Internet

Q: If Internet service is so important, why are there so many roadblocks?

A: The existing regulatory environment is simply not designed for providing Internet access. It was inherited from other services (cable and phone), and prevents ISPs with better approaches and better service from competing with those that simply got there first.

And competition is essential — it levels the playing field, it puts the consumer first, and it ensures that providers deliver great service, or they do not last.

The cure for our Internet heartburn, in San Francisco (and beyond) is to create a legal landscape designed for Internet, effectively lifting roadblocks to better Internet Service.

The city of San Francisco would declare Internet service a public utility, and offer what is know as "franchise status" to approved ISPs, effectively eliminating current regulatory and incumbent roadblocks. These rights would grant access to poles and conduit, enable tenants to request the provider of their choice from their landlord, and ensure that buildings have internet-grade cable.


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