California– San Francisco is moving ahead with plans for a public-private partnership (P3) to build a city-wide fiber network that will encompass the almost 47-square miles of the city. The city has issued a request for information (RFI) for the project and also plans to select five proposals by April 30. The city will then issue a follow-up request by the end of the year for three proposals to enter into the design phase. Early estimates put the cost of the project around $1.9 billion.
The network would be owned by the city but built and managed as a P3 – an arrangement that allows the city to alleviate some of the costs and risks of creating a brand-new utility. The city would maintain significant control over the price consumers would pay if they sign up for the service. The new network is expected to include subsidized rates to close the digital divide for low income residents. Currently about 100,000 residents of the city don’t have internet in their home.