Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Content tagged with "california"
“Fiber is the key to assuring Palo Alto's long-term position as the Leading Digital City of the Future"
That was Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff who was giving his State of the City Address at Tesla Motors in February.
Mayor Scharff described 2013 as "the year of the future" for Palo Alto, with technology and infrastructure as two of the city's most pressing priorities. Scharff called for developing a plan to expand and optimize the city's current 33 miles of fiber with the aim to bring that fiber to homes and businesses. Scharff echoed the recent Gigabit City Challenge, offered by FCC Chairman Genachowski, noting that Palo Alto users should be have access to 1 gig, minimum.
Jason Green of the Mercury News reported on Scharff's speech in which he referenced the city's long desire to provide high speed access to residents:
"Ultra-high-speed Internet has been a Palo Alto vision for a long time. Now is the time to fulfill that vision," Scharff said. "Google has recently deployed ultra-high-speed Internet in Kansas City. Palo Alto can do better and has all of the elements that will make this a success."
Scharff also referred to how the city is currently using its fiber and some of the benefits:
“In 1996, our city built a 33-mile optical fiber ring routed within Palo Alto to enable better Internet connections. Since then, we have been licensing use of this fiber to businesses. For the past decade, this activity has shown substantial positive cash flow and is currently making in excess of $2 million a year for the city. We now have that money in the bank earmarked for more fiber investments."
We spoke with Josh Wallace, from Palo Alto's Fiber Optic Development, in episode 26 of the Broadband Bits podcast about how the city uses dark fiber to connect businesses. As we noted in the past, a thorn in the side of Palo Alto's plan to offer lit services is Comcast, which has been willing to engage in dirty tricks in other communities to stop community owned networks.
Then sit back and ask yourself why you're paying so much money every month for the rotten service you get from Comcast and AT&T. Ask your friends, ask around work; is anyone really happy with their broadband service? Do you think you're getting a good deal for the price?Note that I later clarified a misunderstanding, our Community Internet Map tracks local governments that have made investments, and does not claim that every network is a success. The vast majority are, but there are a few that have encountered serious difficulties and are still struggling.
An even more efficient use of water, said Bryon Horn, is to put moisture sensors into the soil beneath individual trees, like olives and almonds, so that each tree gets exactly the right amount of moisture. But that requires something that the valley lacks: wireless connectivity. In fact, even commercial cellphone coverage in the area is spotty. ... But doing so has been difficult. The larger telcos, she said, are not interested, and a consultant representing smaller telecommunications companies told Hogg and other officials that the large telcos make it almost impossible to expand to underserved areas. To buy wholesale Internet access from AT&T in the Salinas area, the consultant said, costs $136 per megabit per month compared to 50 cents per megabit per month in the city of Sunnyvale. [emphasis ours]Wireless works best where it has access to abundant wired connectivity. Just like plants need water, wireless towers need fiber to backhaul the data. Having AT&T as your only option is bad news. AT&T exists to make profits, not provide essential services at affordable rates. This is precisely why we argue that residents and businesses must have some voice in the telecom networks upon which they depend -- they are too important to entrust to massive corporations like AT&T or Comcast. The public built the roads that allow these farmers to get their crops to market and it ensured that they were connected to the electric grid. Despite entirely too many subsidies, the large providers have not only failed to offer a modern connection but are actually hindering others from doing it. It is time to stop subsidizing those companies and embrace the benefits of ownership by cooperatives or local governments that are locally accountable. From what we can tell, some in the San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium get it and are trying to solve this problem for good.
Congratulations to the city of Santa Monica, for adding another award to their long list. On September 18th, city leaders announced that InformationWeek 500 named the city to the 2012 list of technology innovators. Santa Monica is among the Top 15 Government Innovators.
The award specifically acknowledges the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) that uses Santa Monica's fiber network to improve traffic safety. From a Santa Monica Daily Press Article about the recognition:
The ATMS connects traffic signals, cameras, controllers and wireless devices on transit corridors through Santa Monica’s fiber-optic network. The entire system is managed in one room where traffic is monitored and controlled in real time. Traffic signals can be adjusted on the fly to deal with shifting traffic patterns during peak travel times, holidays, special events and traffic accidents.
Emergency vehicles can also trigger green lights, helping them move quickly through the city. The number of parking spaces available in city-owned lots and structures is also monitored and displayed on signs and on City Hall’s website. There are also Wi-Fi equipped parking meters that take payments by credit cards and cell phones.
A special website — smconstructs.org — provides the latest information on development projects, as well as road closures, detours and other impacts on traffic, according to the press release.
The city also runs parkingspacenow.smgov.net, which allows users to find a place to park their vehicles and provides information on all things parking related.
For a slideshow on Santa Monica and the other Top 15, visit the InformationWeek Global CIO website.
The California Legislature recently passed SB 1161 (dubbed "California's Worst Telecom Bill Ever") and the bill is on the Governor's desk. Utility reform group, TURN, and the New America Foundation are two groups that have opposed this ALEC supported bill from the start. We reported on it in June and shared with you how it will negatively impact the ability for local communities to invest in broadband.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Governor Brown formally opposing the legislation and asking for a veto. According to the an Access Humboldt press release:
In a letter yesterday (August 28, 2012), the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors requested Governor Brown to veto SB 1161, noting: "SB 1161 weakens open Internet protections and subverts long held State policy 'To continue our universal service commitment...' Why abandon our commitment to least served people and places?"
The Board officially expressed their opposition to the bill in May, noting that holes in the legislation ignored public safety, privacy, and consumer protection issues. No amendments were adopted to address those concerns.
You can also read Susan Crawford's take on it and similar efforts in other states.
Clovis-based Secure Customer Relations, Inc., plans to move its entire operation to Provo, Utah this month, resulting in the loss of 98 jobs. ... Secure Customer Relations operates a call center that specializes in appointment setting, client prospecting and other functions on behalf of the insurance industry. Overall, the cost of operations in Provo would be a savings over Clovis, Carter said, including labor costs. He added that Clovis does not have the same level of fiber optic infrastructure as Provo.Interestingly, Clovis is slated to get better access to broadband as part of the stimulus-funded Central Valley Next-Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project. Unfortunately, that is one of them any middle mile projects that will connect community anchors but not offer any immediate benefits to local businesses and residents. It is a middle mile project, not a last-mile project that would build a fiber-optic access network like Provo has connecting everyone. This is not to demean the middle-mile project, but such things are often misunderstood (sometimes due to deliberate obfuscations by those promoting them). And speaking of obfuscation, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah apparently wants the Utah state government to take credit for this company moving to Provo.
"We move a lot of data and need high capacity," CEO Carter Beck told the Journal last week. His company specializes in appointment setting, client prospecting and other functions on behalf of the insurance industry. The relocation of companies like Secure Customer Relations, Inc.
Michael Zwerling, of Santa Cruz’s KSCO 1080 AM, was looking for an expert on broadband so he contacted our own Christopher Mitchell. The June 2 conversation involved questions from Michael, his co-host, and listeners and covered municipal and community broadband, accessibility, WiFi networks, and more. The interview runs about 1 hour.
Sean McLaughlin from the New America Foundation and Access Humbolt alerted us to HB 1161, an AT&T and ALEC driven bill to scale back state regulation of Internet services. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-SD20, San Fernando Valley) is a co-author of the bill, introduced in February and moving steadily forward.
Sean tells us:
On Monday, the bill passed CA Assembly's Committee on Utilities and Commerce with only one brave NO vote (Asm. Huffman is also leading candidate for US House for the new CA-2 district). Next stop is Assembly Appropriations Cte. but it will quickly move to the Assembly Floor - NOW is the time to alert all Assembly Members in California to stop this juggernaut.
Access Humbolt's press release is an excellent analysis and tells us why this bill needs to be stopped:
"While the Bill strives to be self-limiting and makes hopeful assumptions about the benefits of unfettered industry, it neglects to address three profound and overarching realities:
1. In the future all telephone or voice service will be IP enabled communication service;
2. Federal oversight over IP enabled communication services including Internet access services remains highly uncertain; and,
3. Competition is not sufficient in IP enabled communication services to protect consumers, nor to ensure universal access to an open internet.
SB 1161 removes State expertise and local knowledge from public policy making that is necessary to secure universal access to an open internet. And further, this Bill will impede State and local efforts to develop broadband services for public safety, public education, public health, public works and public media. Clearly, a more thoughtful approach is needed.
If the Bill is adopted as proposed, local community investments to support broadband deployment and adoption will suffer, causing increased costs and reduced benefits from State and Federal universal service programs for remote, rural, low income and other people in our community who are least served.