San Francisco is well on its way to establishing wifi in city parks and more fiber optic cables, city CIO Mark Touitou said in an interview with Enterasys Networks chief marketing officer and chief customer officer Vala Afshar and Asuret CEO Michael Krigsman.
The interview happened live on Google Hangouts on Afshar’s and Krigsman’s weekly interview show CXOTalk.
"For every 10 percent of broadband penetration, there is 1 percent of gdp growth attached to it," Touitou said in the interview. "Once people realize that, you need to start now so that 10 years from now, you’ll laugh about when wifi was optional."
The initiative to establish wifi in 31 of San Francisco’s city parks and open spaces has $600,000 from Google, and the San Francisco Department of Technology will be working with San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation (sf.citi) to install and maintain the network.
San Francisco’s Department of Technology, meanwhile, is installing more fiber optic cables to increase citizens’ overall connectivity, decrease the "digital divide" between more and less advantaged people and to help the department better monitor the public safety alarms, or "red boxes" throughout the city.
"Everybody should want to have connectivity as a right," Touitou said.
The city is currently recruiting to hire 40 people for the department of technology via social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Touitou would like to see an increase in how much the cloud is used in state IT, predicting that Voice-over IP (VoIP) will be transferred over to the cloud and that the cloud will eventually completely replace switchboards.
Touitou also supported future initiatives to help San Francisco start-up companies use publicly available information to create applications to help the city’s citizens, like the apps to help people find parking in the city.
"We’re going to do good here, and we can," Touitou said.