Why Fiber: Should San Francisco Deploy a Fiber Broadband Network

In “Why Fiber?” our panelists establish why the City and County of San Francisco should, first, consider playing a greater role in the delivery of internet access to its residents, and second, if it decides to take that step, why it should choose to build out a fiber-optic network to every home and business across the entire City.

Report Link (PDF)

Panel Co-Chairs: Professor Susan Crawford and Supervisor Mark Farrell

Subcommittee Members: Professor Allen S. Hammond, Chair, Subcommittee on Technology & Infrastructure

Professor Catherine Sandoval, Kit Walsh, Julie Kim, Dr. Rajiv Sharma, Assistant Professor Hao Yue

Relevant Publications from Panelists:

In the New York Times, Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford voices support for strengthening the “power of local authorities to encourage the construction of the communications equivalent of a street grid: fiber-optic networks running to every home and business. Hundreds of local governments, fed up with the existing network providers, have done exactly that.”

In “Protect the Open Internet,” (PDF Link) Professor Catherine Sandoval of the Santa Clara University Law School states in the Daily Journal “The internet is essential to our economy, services and security, and is increasingly the town square of democracy.  It enables health care information and monitoring to extend from the doctor’s office to the home, making open internet access at home crucial to health, safety and controlling health care costs.”

In formal regulatory comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, Professor Allen Hammond on behalf of the Santa Clara University Law School Broadband Institute asserts: “An increasingly limited number of ISPs control access to and by U.S. consumers and hence the economy.  In 2010 the FCC is reported to have estimated that roughly 78% of American subscribers had access to two ISPs.  It has been reported that many of these duopolies engage in very little competition on price.”

Panelists will continue to update this page with recent publications on this important issue.