News

Palo Alto gets another shot at 'fiber to the home'

Google's 'Fiber to Communities' invitation could rescusitate dormant fiber dream

Google's invitation to American communities to apply to have high-speed fiber-optic networks installed has rekindled Palo Alto's 15-year vision of providing fast, reliable fiber access to homes and businesses citywide.

The City Council tonight will take up the Google proposal and observers of the long history of fiber are betting the council will jump for the proposal.

Google founders started their now-global business in Menlo Park and Google's first commercial office was on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

A plan developed by a Canadian consortium, headed by Calgary-based Axia, fell apart in March 2009 due to financing problems and pending huge projects in Singapore and Australia -- projects that never materialized.

But the concept developed by the consortium is almost identical to the concept outlined by Google -- involving actual installation of fiber throughout the community to develop an "open access" (open to anyone) system that would be the basis for experimentation with new ways for communities to communicate. Access speeds would be up to 1 gigabit per second.

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Google announced its "Fiber to Communities Initiative" on Feb. 10, and the Palo Alto city staff is recommending that the council go after one of the grants, in spite of expected fierce competition.

The city staff is asking the council to allow it to drop an application for federal stimulus funds so it could concentrate on the Google application, due by March 26.

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Palo Alto gets another shot at 'fiber to the home'

Google's 'Fiber to Communities' invitation could rescusitate dormant fiber dream

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Mon, Feb 22, 2010, 9:50 am

Google's invitation to American communities to apply to have high-speed fiber-optic networks installed has rekindled Palo Alto's 15-year vision of providing fast, reliable fiber access to homes and businesses citywide.

The City Council tonight will take up the Google proposal and observers of the long history of fiber are betting the council will jump for the proposal.

Google founders started their now-global business in Menlo Park and Google's first commercial office was on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

A plan developed by a Canadian consortium, headed by Calgary-based Axia, fell apart in March 2009 due to financing problems and pending huge projects in Singapore and Australia -- projects that never materialized.

But the concept developed by the consortium is almost identical to the concept outlined by Google -- involving actual installation of fiber throughout the community to develop an "open access" (open to anyone) system that would be the basis for experimentation with new ways for communities to communicate. Access speeds would be up to 1 gigabit per second.

Google announced its "Fiber to Communities Initiative" on Feb. 10, and the Palo Alto city staff is recommending that the council go after one of the grants, in spite of expected fierce competition.

The city staff is asking the council to allow it to drop an application for federal stimulus funds so it could concentrate on the Google application, due by March 26.

Comments

Carlito
Palo Verde
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:32 am
Carlito, Palo Verde
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:32 am

As long as no taxpayers money is involved I do not have an issue with that. But sounds like the great minds behind this plan think that Comcast, ATT, DirectTV, DishNetwork, are not good enough in providing adequate service and they may think in creating an extra bureaucracy with all the plum benefits that are typical of a City of Palo Alto employee, the only potential primary beneficiaries I see are Google and bureaucrats. In the current economic situation the City, State and Country are facing, this plan looks like is comming from minds in a high altered state with euphoria and hallucinations being part of the symptoms.


Nayeli
Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:34 am
Nayeli, Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

This is good news.

We attempted to purchase AT&T DSL service...but we were told by AT&T that the local telephone lines were unable to support this type of bandwidth. It was perplexing to think that we live in the middle of the high tech capital of the world...and the only DSL service that our lines could provide was "basic."

Kudos to any plan that could bring us into the 21st Century -- as long as there aren't any hidden costs (typical of California) associated with it.


Ron
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:19 am
Ron, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

Will this system require additional ugly green cabinets near the sidewalks and telephone cabinets, like the ones AT&T installed for their U-Verse system? These large boxes are eyesores. The city had no control over their installation because of a fairly recent state law that denies municipalities control over the installation of cable-type services. Fiber-To-The-Home is a wonderful idea as long as the city maintains control over the location and appearance of any required street-side cabinets and homeowners are given some input into their location.


Jean
Barron Park
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm
Jean, Barron Park
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm

As I understand it, Google is inviting cities to apply and citizens to nominate their city. My friends in France have been raving about big bandwidth services like this. My kids could certainly benefit from growing up with reliable, super-fast fiber while I go in the other room to watch my news via videos now on the Internet.

I plan to let Google know I would love to have their open fiber, and all the services it can deliver, in Palo Alto.


M. Davison
El Carmelo School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm
M. Davison, El Carmelo School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Yes, excellent news. We have waited a long time for fiber optic access. I've always wondered we have had to wait so long while Europe especially UK, France, Germany has had fiber optic installed for a long many years now. As long as it is affordable for Palo Alto residents it will be a good thing and well over due! Let's bring Palo Alto up to date, after all we are part of Silicon Valley!


Richard
Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm
Richard, Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I think those AT&T U-verse boxes are fiber termination points. They then use coaxial cable to go from there to your house. Not exactly fiber to the home, but "fiber to very close to your home". It is much better than DSL over old phone lines. I am sure that a new service provider would have to put in its own set of distribution boxes. I have no idea whether Google would use prettier boxes or consult with the City and residents about them.


Louie
Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm
Louie, Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Let's face it. Palo Alto has the reputation for being the birthplace of Silicon Valley and we're .... where?
If this can be done without taxpayer money, let's do it! In general I'm a "greenie," but I'd be happy to have a box on my curb or a tree cut down if I could get cheaper and faster Internet service.
Our city council has been listening to the LOUDEST voices instead of those of us who pay the taxes.
For a change, let's live up to our tech reputation instead of "environmental obstructionism."
Let's catch up to the rest of the world!


Bob in Midtown
Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm
Bob in Midtown, Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm

This would be great! I support it!


SteveU
Registered user
Barron Park
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm
SteveU, Barron Park
Registered user
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Gimme a break. The last time I had a chance to connect, it was to "Dark Fibre", The CPA connection fee was $1000 and I had to provide the all the equipment on my premisis and stillhad to contract an ISP to light up the fibre.

I want some of what you guys are smokin' because this sounds like another Cheech and Chong episode.


MRG
University South
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm
MRG, University South
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I'm all in favor of this proposal. AT&T claims that I'm too far from the dropbox to have U-Verse service even though other houses on the block seem to have the service. I'm also told that you can't actually watch or record to HD stations at the same time. Let's get competition into cable business.


Sharon
Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm
Sharon, Midtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm



Verizon has the most experience with fiber to the home as opposed to copper to the home.

The VZ Fios system works very well for multiple HD TV, movies etc, copper to the home does not.

Fios works in wealthy communities where the investment justifies the fees, or where satellite does not work well like NYC.
the problem with systems like cable web, iphone, and att, is that 20% of the users hog 80% of the band width when running web biz from their devices and the system crawls.
The upload rates destroy the down load rates.

Google will probably not install in PA, the history of the PA process is too bleak-- and there are too many renters


Joey
Barron Park
on Feb 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm
Joey, Barron Park
on Feb 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

We will never get the Google grant.
It's must better to go for the higher chance federal stimulus money


bill
Barron Park
on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm
bill, Barron Park
on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Joey you're right. Palo Alto should not give up on the opportunity to get Federal stimulus money for a FTTP program. GOOGLE is far more likely to offer their program to Mountain View rather than Palo Alto as they are about to expand their building program around the GOOGLEPLEX.

The City should not give up on their opportunity to get Federal Stimulus Dollars.


Sergey
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm
Sergey, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Some other cities are more interested in Google than Palo Alto. Story on CNN: Web Link


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