San Francisco’s Hunters Point gets free gigabit internet, more to follow

In the 21st century, internet at home is as much a necessity as water and electricity.

That’s why a San Francisco-based internet service provider is providing free gigabit-speed internet access at more than 200 low-income, federally subsidized housing units in Hunters Point.

Monkeybrains partnered with the San Francisco Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit that owns the units, to provide high-speed fiber internet to help close the digital divide.

By the end of 2018, SFHDC and Monkeybrains plan to add fiber internet at 1,000 additional units. The units will be divided between nine developments in the Tenderloin area and four more in the Bayview area, according to Recode.

At Hunters Point, Monkeybrains laid out rooftop antennas above each housing unit to give every tenant equal high-speed internet. Monkeybrains beams the internet to the antennas, which is unique from other fiber-oriented ISPs that require installing cables underneath sidewalks into the houses.

All the 300-plus tenants have to pay for every month is the router, according to Monkeybrains.

In most low-income housing, the projects provide a Wi-Fi hotspot but the quality can be spotty and unequal, according to Preston Rhea, a senior field engineer at Monkeybrains.

“Wi-Fi doesn’t guarantee universal level of service,” said Rhea to Recode.

SFHDC also encourages its tenants to be trained in computer literacy. It operates a computer lab in Hunters Point, and those who participate in the lab training receives a laptop or tablet per household.


Photo: Hunters Point in San Francisco. (Thinkstock)


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  • omegatalon

    Free Gigabit internet while most residents couldn’t get this type of speed even if they could pay for it because Comcast and AT&T have yet adopted DOCSIS 3.1 in California.

  • Jason

    Insane. More free stuff for poor people. They already get subsidized rent and other free stuff.