Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    April 16, 2015 9:00pm-9:31pm PDT

9:00 pm
that we'll look at the profile of the digital divide in san francisco as of 2013. it found 88 percent of the respondents reported an internet connection at home but 6 percent of those were using slower speed dial up so it doesn't really qualify as broadband and pretty limited in terms of using full internet capacity and then the other 12 percent reported no internet connection at home and based on on the 2013 population of san francisco just over a hundred thousand people and interestingly that rate of non connectivity was about the same in the controller's 2011 survey so seems to be a persistent segment of the population that doesn't have the connectivity and san francisco, should point out is better than the u.s.
9:01 pm
average 69 percent connection rate when you look at the country as a whole slightly higher in california but lower than san francisco. >> fred can i ask you -- this is based on surveys and commonly surveys leave out homeless people maybe immigrant populations and lower income populations so is it possible that it's a large under count. >> it's certainly possible certain segments of the population are probably less well represented. >> thank you and is the survey conducted in english only? >> i can they have multiple languages but i don't know how many supervisor. >> thank you. >> looking down at the distribution i mentioned 88 percent a high rate of connectivity but when you break it down and this slide shows the rates by supervisor ial
9:02 pm
district and the lowest in the high eighties still sounds good but you can see the range and district 8 has the highest, 94 percent and every other district in between but 3, 6 and 11 on the lower side and 8 and 4 are at the higher end. breaking it down, then, by social i by social economic those of lower income and less education and older people those over 65. the rate also is probably overstating the actual case again it was from 2013 respondents were asked to indicate if they had high speed
9:03 pm
access and that was not defined though so i think it's fair to assume many respondents don't really know what that means and may not have answered in accord with fcc definitions of broadband and in addition since it just got redefined in 2015 and it's a big jump here so the download speed going from 4 mega bytes per second so a big jump in the definition of broadband and i'd think that many of the respondents weren't responding with that in mind when they indicated that they had high speed access and the change certainly reflects increased data intensity and increased volume of internet activity and between 7 and 11 every night netflix consumes a great deal of internet capacity and everyone needs higher speed
9:04 pm
to keep up with that and in terms of the common barriers to broadband access at home three factors stand out and one is availability, do you have access in your neighborhood at your resident do wires come to your house? in general san francisco has good coverage we have lots of providers, but there's about 17 that we counted wired and wireless providers but when you look at just wired service for the home the number of providers drops down it is only one in certain areas but it's higher than that there are 4 or more in certain areas so it's not equally distributed across the city and we have a map showing the distribution in the report. we have many more choices for cellular wireless service but that has limitations the speeds
9:05 pm
offered are lower and caps on data use so you can't actually go onto the internet and use it freely for the whole month without incurring a higher fee and the devices at this time again all subject to change but right now a tablet or cell phone doesn't have the same functionality as a laptop or desktop computer and you can't apply for a job as easily on a cell phone or do your homework on a cell phone as as you can on your computer and in terms of of affordability certainly an issue for segments of the san francisco population these are rates as of last fall. they are subject to change but i imagine they are still in the ballpark and we're showing both the lowest speeds available and the lowest prices and that's not even broadband that's starting at 1.5 me at 1.5
9:06 pm
mega bytes per second. for speeds that incorporate broadband it's currently defined the definition i gave a few minutes ago the rates run from 34 34.95 a month to to $98 a month or 1, $176 per year so for low income family with our lowest fifth of the population income at 25 thousand $25,000 and 5, 426 and below the cost of this can be difficult to cover and then non adoption in a statewide survey of california 14 percent of californians state they don't use the internet because they don't know how or lack interest or don't perceive a need for it and statewide and u.s. higher
9:07 pm
non adoption rates for people of color and people of lower income and what's lacking at this time is a comprehensive plan to address all 3 and they are good program and see good services offered to address adoption particularly through seniors through the the department of aging and adult services they address with both training and how to use it and how it's relevant to to the students' lives and for youth no city programs at present. the grant funding ran out several years ago and at this time the city itself is not offering those kinds of services. the schools have a good fleet of computers and have wired every school site for high speed internet
9:08 pm
connections. same with the library -- it's not quite up to the same level of speed as the school district but they are working on that and more broadband is going to to be introduced this year and there's hardware there as well to use i say use but it's really for anybody who uses it. >> thank you just a quick question how about city college? city college certainly has access yes they have wifi and hardware available as well and let's see -- the library -- oh, the library branchs will be adding broadband the plan is this year so they will have higher speed now but both schools and libraries, while they offer quite a bit in the way of resources and services they do
9:09 pm
face the issue as i mentioned of having to ration the devices and the time they they can be on the internet so doesn't fully replace access at home with the computer and the main program we identified is internet essentials operated by comcast and provides a reduced fee monthly access i think the current fee is 9.95 a month and for student families where seventy percent or more of the students eligible for the school lunch program and only about 15 hundred have actually signed up and comcast when we interviewed them identified the district's restrictions on advertising and outreach efforts . >> i just wanted to acknowledge
9:10 pm
scott adams from comcast is here who has been on the job for only a few months i believe and i know he's eager to work with many to get the word out on the comcast essentials program so thank you for bringing that up. >> and then we have various community-based organizations and the department of technology offers training and subsidized equipment and reduced fee programs and the department of technology operates sf wifi providing free wifi at selected locations throughout the city and nothing fully gets at all 3 barriers with high speed access. the city fiber network i'm going to bring that up this is the city's own network. it
9:11 pm
provides very high speed access and high security high functionality. it was constructed starting in the early 2000's by the city primarily for linking cities and buildings and still used for that purpose not every city and building is connected but i think 170 or so are and there's excess capacity in the network being used by the department and by the city to address some aspects of the digital divide. on the panel on the right on this slide you will see that free high speed access is now provided to the san francisco housing authority facilities so every facility has this and free high speed access. also, 22 community centers are provided free high speed access from the city's fiber network and provides classes and
9:12 pm
services for seniors and people with disabilities and finally sf wifi now offered a little over 3 miles of market of market street and 32 city parks and people can access the internet as long as they have a device at those locations and finally the city issued its connectivity plan and do have goals to increase the use of fiber network for all city buildings by 2017 and 18 and allow for expanding the fiber network at the same time as city streets are dug up for other purposes and finally expanding sf wifi i believe it will go into more parks in the coming years and other areas of the city and other sites. the plan at this time doesn't provide providing access to all
9:13 pm
residents of the city and chair mar you identified chat anooga municipal broadband networks there's 150 throughout the country they offer tremendous benefits and the municipalities themselves have control of the network and can design policies and set prices and cover their costs of course but control that most cities don't have now because of the services provided through the private sector and it can also stimulate local economic development and chat anooga really used it to bring in in businesses who were dependent on high speed access for their core business and have had some success doing that. there's a lot of things to consider.
9:14 pm
it's very expensive. the cities that have done it tend to be smaller and many have their own electric utility and had control over that to begin with and the cities that have gone this route have faced extensive litigation and had to take on all of that in the process of constructing their network and it requires the city under taking a new business enterprise if it's operated by the city and as i mentioned, there's there's 150 throughout the country and chat anooga has over sixty thousand customers and the population is around 160 thousand and some people choose to go with the private provider but a sizable portion has gone with the municipal and they do offer 1
9:15 pm
gig byte per second high speed access. >> can i ask you can you quantify how how fast 1 gig is? >> i think i believe you can download 25 songs in 2 seconds and a movie in a couple of minutes there's probably people in the room that can tell you better but it's much faster that what we're used to. my work computer is fifty mega bytes per second -- that's 20 times faster? >> you have the city fiber network here so you should have high speed here and you can test at home too. see what you get. this is surprising to us -- there's different surveys done in different way and see different times but the best we saw was 11th in the world for
9:16 pm
internet access speed and the one you used the self testing one. so that was surprising and south korea and japan and stockholm sweden and hong kong and the common denominator all of these places have made public investment in their infrastructure and they may not operate the network themselves or serve as a telecommunications company but stockholm leases out to private companies to provide the service and enables more competition among providers and a portion of the fees of course going to the city and a number of the cities with really high speed are also high
9:17 pm
density cities the same as san francisco so proximity to the network is definitely a plus for getting high speed and what's emerging also is the private sector moving into hybrids and fiberoptic hybrids more fiber now but still some cable and verizon working on a system like this and google has gotten into the business and they are not technically an internet service provider but they are constructing networks and then they link up certain neighborhoods with cables to the premises. at and t with its u-verse is moving into this network. and you mentioned monkey brains that's an example of where there's other
9:18 pm
challenges with that approach in terms of getting access to utility poles or rights of way. and public private partnerships are emerges also and i mentioned stockholm and the city of seattle is exploring that opportunity where they could lease out network and so that's another option when looking at it but it offers the possibility of more competition between providers meeting the city's future internet needs gets to a question beyond the digital divide but what kind of infrastructure does the city want to provide in the future with the most modern and highest speed access. >> there's a bay area council the regional chamber of
9:19 pm
commerce looking at how a municipal fiber network would benefit the economy for businesses and residents and even the conduit and the fiber as a municipal resource as well according to the bay area council as well. >> and business development and retention as you mentioned. certainly for smaller businesses it can make a big difference in terms of their cost if they have a publicly subsidized or more controlled price as chat anooga has found taking advantage of their high speed and lower costs. we presented a number of policy options for the board including a regular digital divide survey and the city of seattle does this and while it comes out every other year there could be advantages to to do it more frequently and more focussed on
9:20 pm
the digital divide and the development association does something like that just for the mission district now and gives them a lot of information to work with in terms of designing services they provide to their community. the city is not funding or sponsoring that and i mentioned the city is not providing that service now but certainly the school district and library classes have services available. and enhanced mobile device training for seniors many of the classes in the past have been geared to laptop or desktop computers and mobile devices are increasingly being used and we did come to understand in doing our research that that there are
9:21 pm
rooms with computers and high speed access available at the facilities but sitting unused for much of the time. advocating something the board might consider is more outreach and expansion at the school district for the problem i mentioned early in terms of promoting the comcast and other partnerships with other internet service providers and the city could be in a position to bargain and negotiate with some of the other companies to provide lower cost services to some to some of the households and considering municipal broadband network to cover the entire city so address the digital divide and upgrade the city's fiberoptic network city-wide to prepare the city
9:22 pm
for the future and that's a summary and i'd be happy to respond to any comments or questions. >> can i just acknowledge that we've had visitors from south africa from the african national congress and democratic alliance and a number of other entities but i wanted to thank them for coming to san francisco and engaging with us so we could learn from your struggles as you learn from ours thank you for being here today. >> supervisor campos? >> thank you chairman. i want to quickly thank chair mar and supervisor christiansen for requesting this and to our budget and legislative analyst for the amazing work that went into this this is very informative we talk a lot about
9:23 pm
the digital divide but this certainly puts numbers on it and puts it in perspective just a quick question in terms of you looking at something like expanding sf wifi and specifically considering a municipal broadband network, any idea sort of how much money we're talking about? >> supervisor cam pos i don't have a number to give you but it would not be cheap assuming streets would be dug up and cables needing to be installed i don't have that number for you it would be a major investment and the thing is it would also provide assuming people sign up for it an ongoing revenue stream so can be looked at as an investment. >> this has been covered 8 years at at the examiner.
9:24 pm
they had a study done and estimated that a fiber to the premises network would cost 560 million $560 million and and they were looking at amsterdam and other cities at the time back then. >> yes this gets to the point of the public private partnerships and looking at various ways of adopting that kind of model and there's probably other ways to obtain the funding needed. >> thank you. supervisor christiansen. >> i don't know in the study went into this much detail but i noticed in the 8 recommendations i mean certainly the question of providing better and faster service is a big and expensive one but many of these items actually deal with training or awareness programs and i
9:25 pm
wondered if the study went deep enough to consider what tends to be the most effective way because we've talked about schools our nonprofits and libraries but was there any indication of where we're doing a good job at reaching out to people and where we might do better? >> supervisor christiansen we didn't evaluate the effectiveness of each program but a couple of comments on that and the digital divide numbers haven't moved in the last few years not that these programs are not good in teaching people things but ultimately a certain segment of san francisco i san franciscans are not signing up for internet access and there may be a small percentage who truly never will and don't have any interest and don't want to do it but i can't help but think ultimately it's it's an
9:26 pm
affordability issue and the kids are learning it in school and they probably know how to do everything on the computer but don't have it at at home i would tend to think affordability would be a major factor in that. >> i have a question a question you said you identified 3 barriers to bridging the digital divide but you also said the city has no comprehensive divide to address that divide can you elaborate on that? >> sure what we're referring to there -- these 3 components availability affordability and adoption so the plan is not in place that would address all of those to ensure everyone has access that the network serves every household and business in san francisco and that it's affordable and people are trained if they don't know how
9:27 pm
to use the technology now that plans or programs are in place to ensure that's provided and pieces of that are in place now but not in in a comprehensive sense. for affordability, really, the only thing right now is what comcast offers and you have to have a child in the school district to access that which you know is a perfectly fine program but doesn't cover all the population that face affordability issues. >> in our budget committee yesterday colleague we had the ten-year capital plan presented before us and i know we had the technology plan as well but just thinking out loud, i would hope that we look at municipal fiber networks as a potential and i know that we have in the past from 2007 but i guess my question is why the city is not thinking about the economic potential to consider that chat
9:28 pm
anooga now a city of 160 thousand is calling itself the fastest city in the u.s. and perhaps in the world of having this smarter smart grid and looking at the economic benefits for business but also the leaving no one behind at their homes so really the equity capital in some ways for technology but thinking about our planning my hope is that we start thinking like chat anooga and other cities for high speed for everyone and that was more of a comment not a question but i also wanted to acknowledge that scott blood from my office did a lot of work with you and i want to thank my policy staff for the great work he has done on this reaching out to the community groups as well and austin texas is one of the public private
9:29 pm
partnerships i believe with a google connection and i know they have a very explicit digital inclusion plan strategy vision and action plans and from simple things like an annual digital divide survey which i know is one of your recommendations to even having engaged community groups participating in advicing the technology directors in their city and my hope is that we're looking at your report for examples of what our city can do to have an explicit inclusion vision and strategy like we did in 2007 for our city and the media alliance also developed different strategies that i think our city adopted for a short time but i'm hoping we can be brought up to speed but lastly, where's the low hanging fruit that might cost quite a bit of money in the long run but where
9:30 pm
do you think our short-term strategies that move us more to bridging the divide? >> chair mar i think that back to the question supervisor christiansen asked, getting to the affordability issue, a city subsubsidy program or the city negotiating with the internet service providers and internet essentials right now is provided to school district students and their families doesn't have to be limited to just that this would take negotiation obviously with the providers but the city is in the position of dealing with these companies and certainly negotiations can take place to offer more affordable programs and in terms of low hanging fruit that does require negotiation but there's other funding options and hardware to assist families first they need the hardware and the the city can su