The Californian city of San Francisco has adopted a resolution to deploy fiber optic cables to each of it’s residences and businesses to deliver high-speed broadband services. By doing this San Francisco would be the first major city in the United States to commit to connecting each of its homes and businesses to a fiber optic network. The Fiber for San Francisco Initiative has recommended that development of a fiber optic network in San Francisco may begin as early as possible.
San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the fourth-most populous city in California, and the 13th-most populous in the United States, with a 2016 census-estimated population of 870,887. San Francisco is one of the hotspots in the United States, but its internet connection is not up to the mark as the infrastructure doesn’t take full advantage of modern technology.
We have discussed the issues faced by the customers in the United States that many of the major investors are short-term minded who look for immediate returns for their investments. Investing in broadband needs vision and social commitment. In the United States, the private sector sees no real reason to install a fiber optic network, given that it takes an enormous amount of time, effort, and money. Even Google’s Fiber program, while well-received by users, was eventually discontinued because it was so difficult to put in place.
Comcast, which is the dominant force among San Francisco’s internet providers has made no plans to introduce a fiber optic network. Officially, AT&T is planning to implement fiber infrastructure in the city, but its progress on similar projects elsewhere in the US has been very slow going. The other providers that serve San Francisco don’t have the means or motivation to put in a network that serves the entire municipality in place.
The press and the online media in the United States had realized that the fast, reliable internet is necessary for improvements to various other essential public services. If we want to advance our efforts in healthcare, education, energy usage, and the growth of the industry, strong internet connectivity is a prerequisite. Cities that have already installed fiber-optic networks, like Chattanooga, Tennessee, have seen a boom in jobs and local economic growth. Yet currently, only 95 communities in the US have city-wide fiber optics installed.
Eight years ago, a report commissioned by the city of San Francisco suggested that a fiber network would be the best route to pursue. However, a previous attempt to offer citywide internet access ended in failure, so a great deal of preliminary research has been carried out over the last several years.
A new report by Fiber for San Francisco goes into detail on how the city might execute these plans. Fiber would be laid down in two primary categories; a ‘dark’ skeleton that provides infrastructure without a retail relationship, much like a public works construction, and ‘lit’ sections that internet service providers could use to funnel access to their customers.
This method would allow for harmony between public and private interests. Internet service providers wouldn’t be as likely to combat the project, as they would be able to take advantage of the end result. If it comes to pass, and it’s a success, San Francisco could set a precedent for other cities to follow.