The Last Shall Be First

Friday, April 11, 2008


Few of the ambitious plans, promised by dozens of U.S. cities, for municipal wireless internet service have materialized. That is, until Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle turned on lightning-fast, free internet this week to hundreds of residents of San Francisco's public housing projects. He explains why it's the shape of things to come.

Comments [4]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I sure wish we had this service in New Haven public housing. (See my post from the just previous story.)

Apr. 18 2008 03:51 AM
Brewster Kahle from San Francisco

Thank you to OnTheMedia for the opportunity and the effort required to put all the pieces together.

in reply to Mr Morris Cornell-Morgan-- yes, I was referring to San Francisco DSL and cable speeds with the 1-6Mbits/sec. I have long envied Korea, Japan, and other countries for having much higher speeds available at all, much the less at such reasonable prices. I hope these high speed inroads into San Francisco can start to nudge some movement in the US.

in reply to Howard: the Cablevision service is much better than what we can reasonably buy in San Francisco-- count yourself lucky.

Offering symmetric 100Mbit/sec residential service, like what is now in Valencia Gardens, might bring some interesting services online.

This one project depended on a whole sequence of non-profits such as one-economy, mission housing development, techsoup,, and the city of San Francisco. I hope we all have the opportunity to replicate this.


Apr. 14 2008 01:45 AM
Howard from Brooklyn New York

I have Cablevision's Optimum On-Line service both at home and at work.
We have had pretty fast speeds for a while.
Our service at work is 30/5 and tested speeds were:
Last Result:
Download Speed: 24657 kbps (3082.1 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 4553 kbps (569.1 KB/sec transfer rate)
More Information:
This is about normal for me at work. I am waiting for Verizon Fios to force Cablevision to even go faster.

Apr. 13 2008 03:36 PM
Morris Cornell-Morgan from Tokyo, Japan

Congratulations to Brewster Kahle for managing to provide some of the first truly high-speed residential internet connections in the US! Living in Japan, though, there are two things I feel compelled to point out:

1) When Mr. Kahle refers to 1 and 2 Mbps DSL connections, he's referring to what's widely available in the US. In Japan (and many other countries in Asia and Europe), newer DSL-technologies deliver 12-Mbps, 26-Mbps, and 54-Mbps speeds at reasonable prices (I personally pay $45 a month for 54Mbps DSL, and even on the slowest days it's far faster than 2Mbps).

2) Although 100Mbps - 1Gbps access is still fast anywhere in the world, in Japan 100Mbps service is widely available and not (unlike Verizon's residential fiber offerings) particularly expensive ($55-60 a month).

So when can we expect to see high speed access at reasonable prices in the US? It's impossible to say, but I suspect it will have a lot to do with the policies of the next president.

Apr. 12 2008 01:17 AM

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