Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Content tagged with "riverside"
Nestled in Southern California’s Inland Empire is the city of Moreno Valley which goes by the maxim: "People, Pride, Progress!” Now, city officials are looking to live up to the motto by moving forward with a plan to expand Internet access to residents by utilizing 35 miles of fiber assets and 11,000 city utility poles to extend public Wi-Fi access to as many homes as possible.
Home to over 213,000 residents, the city of Moreno Valley is in the beginning stages of developing a Master Plan to extend its existing fiber and wireless networks. The goal of the plan, being completed by Magellan Advisors, is to leverage city-owned assets to expand Internet access and lower the cost of connectivity for public-sector organizations, businesses, and community anchor institutions.
The Master Plan calls for a focus on expanding Moreno Valley’s municipal network in a way that would promote economic development; support education, healthcare, and public safety in the city, and generally improve quality of life for residents living in an increasingly interconnected world.
Moreno Valley and Magellan, a national consulting firm, are currently in the first phase of assessing the feasibility of the project and developing the Master Plan, which is anticipated to be complete by the end of the year.
Phase 1 of the plan consists of conducting an inventory of broadband assets, interviewing city staff and other major stakeholders (such as larger hospitals, school districts and warehousing groups), conducting online surveys to understand current broadband availability, and putting together a cost-benefit analysis.
“Putting that whole picture together is what Magellan Advisors is helping us do. They’re taking a look at everything we have - what’s connected, what’s almost connected but not quite. They’re going to develop a Master Plan and give [the city] suggestions as to what we could do, so we can place assets more intentionally,” Steve Hargis, the city’s Chief Information Officer told ILSR in a recent interview.
Named the Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Communities Forum in 2012, Riverside, California has continued to work toward broadband expansion, digital inclusion and take full advantage of their fiber optic infrastructure. To offer more options for commercial and institutional entities in the community, the city council approved a dark fiber leasing program to be operated and maintained by Riverside Public Utilities (RPU). Officially launched in 2018, the program makes the city’s 120-mile dark fiber network available for Internet service providers (ISPs), wireless operators, and mobile carriers to lease and provide service to industrial and commercial customers.
Becoming an Innovation Hub
Riverside’s growing reputation as a smart city has helped turn the community into a hub for start up companies, especially in the technology industry. Located just east of Los Angeles, Riverside was ranked as 19th on MSN Money’s list of the best cities in the U.S. to grow a business and several large companies, such as SolarMax, have recently located there.
While the fiber network was originally constructed for running the operational facilities of power and water, the city had the foresight to finance and construct fiber to every city facility. With the new leasing program, this original network is now an essential backbone for providing the city’s businesses and industries with the high-speed service they need to compete with surrounding communities.
Open for Business
You might not have made it to Mesa for the Digital Southwest Regional Broadband Summit, but you can now watch some of the speakers and panel conversations. Next Century Cities has posted video from panel conversations and the keynote address from Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
In her address, Commissioner Clyburn said:
“Access to high-speed broadband is a necessity in today’s 21st century economy, providing a gateway to jobs, education, and healthcare. I am honored to join state and local leaders who are on the front lines of closing the digital and opportunities divide. Working together, we can achieve our shared goal of affordable broadband for all Americans.”
The Commissioner’s full remarks were about 18 minutes long:
Sharing Knowledge on Infrastructure
Christopher moderated Panel Two, focused on infrastructure needs, which included CISSP President and CTO of CityLink Telecommunications John Brown, Partner at Conexon Jonathan Chambers, Director of Technology at the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association Matt Rantanen, Manager of Tribal Critical Infrastructure at Amerind Riskand Kimball Sekaquaptewa, and Vice President of Digital Innovation at Magellan Advisors Jory Wolf. If you listen to the Community Broadband Bits podcast, you’ll probably recognize most of these voices.
The video lasts one hour thirteen minutes:
The other videos are available on the Next Century Cities YouTube channel page, or watch them here.
Welcome and Introduction: Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities and Eric Farkas, Fujitsu Network Communications, 7:32
Riverside, California was just named the Intelligent Community of the Year 2012 by the Intelligent Communities Forum. It is only the fourth U.S. city to win in the 14-year history of the award. Among its top qualifications are a publicly owned fiber optic network linking public buildings (eliminating the need for any leased lines) and a free Wi-Fi network that aids an impressive digital inclusion approach.
The path to the award began in 2005, when the City hired a full time CIO, Steve Reneker, and launched SmartRiverside as a way to attract technology companies. In addition to efforts to connect to California's reputation as a technology leader, the City invested in the basics. From a Government Technology article:
A year later, the City Council addressed physical infrastructure needs by approving Riverside Renaissance, a $2 billion effort to improve traffic flow; replace aging water, sewer and electric infrastructure; and expand and improve police, fire, parks, library and other community facilities.
“We’ve done a number of things that have changed Riverside to make us competitive,” said Mayor Ron Loveridge.
Part of being competitive was capitalizing on the City's existing fiber network ring, managed and maintained by the City Public Utility. The fiber network was originally focused on running the operational facilities for power and water but according to Reneker, via email:
...over the past 4 years, IT was able to work with our City Manager’s office and finance the construction of fiber to every City facility. So all telco lines have been eliminated and now all voice, data and video traverses the 1Gb network to City Hall. In addition, the City went live with City wide WiFi in May 2007, and the fiber was run to 6 tower locations to enable WiFi coverage city wide.
The fiber network provides the needed infrastucture to offer free Wifi all over the City. From the Intelligent Communities website:
Riverside, California, an innovative city of 300,000 in the eastern part of Los Angeles has been a broadband pioneer even though it sits in the shadow of tech centers like nearby Santa Barbara. Riverside’s accomplishment as a city catching up with the information age was evident when it was selected as one of the top 7 Intelligent Communities Award in 2011 by New York-based Intelligent Community Forum.
“It’s an honor to be selected as one of the top 7 cities in the world. It comes down to a couple factors, what communities are doing with broadband, but... includes digital inclusion, innovation, knowledge workforce (of folks within your community) and marketing advocacy... We rank very high in all those categories.” - City CIO Steve Reneker [Gigabit Nation Radio]
The cornerstone the city’s SmartRiverside initiative is a free public wireless network which covers 78% of the city’s 86 square miles. Established in 2007 by AT&T (which also offers DSL services in Riverside), the maximum speed of the network is 768kbps, which at just under 1Mbps is decent enough to surf the web and check emails. However the road to providing free Internet access and bridging the digital divide wasn’t so easy for Riverside.
The City issued a RFP in 2006 for a provider to deploy a citywide Wi-Fi network, with the goal of making the Internet accessible to users who can’t afford higher cost plans. The City met with respondents and a speed of 512kbps or about half a megabit was initially quoted as an entry-level speed that would complement existing services rather than compete against them. The contract was awarded to AT&T who hired MetroFi to build the network and charge the city a service cost of about $500,000 a year. MetroFi went bankrupt after completing only 25 square miles and Nokia Siemens took over but only completed up to the present level of coverage.
In 2007, the wifi network launched and began bridging the digital divide. Through the City’s digital inclusion efforts, not only were modest-income families able to obtain low cost or free PCs but also have means to use them with an Internet connection.