News


As Palo Alto's fiber hopes grow, so do costs

City to consider hiring new manager, extending consultant contracts for 'Fiber to the Premises'

As Palo Alto forges ahead with a plan to bring high-speed Internet access to every local home and business, city staff is struggling to keep up both with the rapid changes in the broadband market and with the City Council's growing ambitions.

On Nov. 30, the council will hold another hearing on the project known as "Fiber to the Premises" and will consider adding staff, expanding the contracts of the city's fiber consultants, reaching out to private sector partners who may want to operate the new system and exploring partnerships with the very companies that could end up competing for customers with the city-run service.

The multipronged approach is the city's latest attempt to bring to fruition the 20-year effort, which would expand the city's small, existing fiber-optic ring to every section of the city. Once that happens, the municipal network that currently serves about 200 commercial customers would reach just about every home and business.

First proposed in the late 1990s, the project fizzled several times before being resurrected during the current climate of financial prosperity and digital hunger. On Sept. 28, council members reaffirmed their commitment to the project when they adopted as the city's preferred goal "a ubiquitous fiber network in Palo Alto with city ownership of fiber assets."

Whether or not this vision materializes, the effort is becoming more complex and expensive at each step, according to a new staff report. In addition to requesting further exploration of a citywide fiber system, the council also directed staff to pursue a new wireless network focused on public safety and to craft of a "dig once" policy that would require various utility and telecommunications providers to coordinate their construction efforts when installing cable infrastructure in the public right of way.

The work has added up, according to a new report from the city's Information Technology Department. The ability of city staff to be "timely and responsible to the third party providers is slowed and complicated by the additional, unanticipated work required." To cope with the growing and shifting workload, staff is proposing adding a new position directly responsible for the various fiber endeavors -- a senior manager with an annual salary of $228,000. The temporary position is expected to be in place for three years, costing the city $684,000.

The council will also consider on Monday new contracts with the city's consultant on fiber, Columbia Telecommunications Corporation (CTC). The consultant has already put together a master plan for the project, indicating that the type of network the city envisions would cost about $77.6 million to construct -- a figure that has been challenged by council members as well as a citizen advisory committee and that is now being reviewed. Staff is proposing adding $58,850 to the CTC's contract for reviewing the requests for information and for providing consulting services relating to the dig-once ordinance. This would increase the contract from $144,944 to $203,794.

An additional $94,490 is requested for a separate contract with CTC to develop a request for proposals for the dedicated wireless communication system for public safety and utilities (which would raise that contract from $131,650 to $226,140).

The request for additional help underscores the staff's challenge in implementing a project within a dynamic telecommunications marketplace. In September, the council directed staff to put out a request for information for private companies that would be interested in partnering with the city to install the fiber system. At the same time, the council asked for staff to discuss a potential "co-build" project with Google and AT&T, two companies that are also eyeing Palo Alto as a market for high-speed Internet service. AT&T has already applied for permits for its "GigaPower" program, which it plans to construct next year, according to staff.

Google Fiber, meanwhile, remains a wild card that could either enhance or derail the city's goal of fiber for all. After premiering in 2012 in Kansas City, Mo., Google Fiber has expanded to Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas, and announced plans to bring citywide fiber services to additional communities. Google has marked the greater San Jose metro area, which includes Palo Alto, as a "potential Fiber city." Palo Alto officials anticipate that the Mountain View-based company will reveal its latest expansion plans in early 2016.

As the new staff report makes clear, by attempting to pursue all the options at once, the city is paradoxically putting itself in a bit of a bind. The city's quest for a municipal network could, for example, prompt Google to stay away from Palo Alto. Similarly, Google's potential entry into the Palo Alto market could deter companies that may otherwise be interested in partnering with the city.

"The goals in the motion are worthy -- a desire to ensure the potential for near-ubiquitous access to fiber, now and into the future, and preserve city flexibility over the long term in the quantity and quality of fiber access in Palo Alto," the report states. "But the dual directives are not simple to manage and accomplish and are not without risk."

In September, staff argued that the city should wait until Google makes its announcement before reaching out to the private market for proposals.

"Who would respond to it, knowing that Google is still deciding whether they're coming?" Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Reichental asked at the Sept. 28 council meeting. "It's useful to the people who respond to have the market settle."

Councilman Greg Scharff agreed that the city should wait a few months so that the market could shake out -- a position that was shared by Mayor Karen Holman and council members Marc Berman and Liz Kniss but that was overruled by the other five council members.

Kniss also noted at the meeting that the council is "pushing on the edges of staff's ability to keep up with what we're doing."

Related content:

Competition casts large shadow over Palo Alto's fiber effort

Economic crisis stalls Palo Alto fiber project

Comments

11 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

"The consultant has already put together a master plan for the project, indicating that the type of network the city envisions would cost about $77.6 million to construct — a figure that has been challenged by council members as well as a citizen advisory committee..."

So our local technology experts are challenging their expert's findings. Principal rule for successful consultants: first find out what outcome your client wants. Overdoing the objectivity thing can be harmful to repeat business.

And what is the relative priority of this costly boondoggle and a new public safety building?


5 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Since the city didn't put in the infrastructure when the sewers were replaced or fiber was pulled to the schools, now it's going to pay to lay all that fiber. Why not structure the project the same way Google does? Only build to a neighborhood when a high enough percentage buy in. Why build infrastructure before there is sufficient business to sustain it?


28 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2015 at 10:12 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

I just hope that we get something that will offer higher speeds and worthwhile competition to combat the perpetual rising prices of Comcast.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Why does anyone think fiber will be cheaper than Comcast? Costs for fiber are rising, and it ain't even been built yet. Remember: the final cost for these kinds of projects is typically double or triple the estimate at commencement.


10 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Comcast has a much bigger network, which means the capital & operational costs will be lower than a smaller network than what a Palo Alto run fiber network. They get bigger discounts from vendors because of the amount they purchase, and fixed overhead can be amortized over a bigger customer base.

Service from a Palo Alto run network work can be potentially better, as well as the speed of the connection. But the internet response time is made up of not just the local connect speed, but also the speed of the servers that handle the requests, the netowrk backbone, etc. So improving the local connection from say 3 Megabits to 100 Mbits, doesn't mean that one's service will improve by the same amount.


13 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Nameless forces in city hall have repeatedly resurrected this failed project, though have never been able to present a business plan that pencils out. City Hall thinks they know more than ATT, Comcast, Sonic, or just about any other ISP offering fiber connections to customers. Fine, have your opinion, but you have no business experimenting with tax dollars to satisfy a HUGE fiber ego lurking somewhere in City Hall. As a very satisfied Sonic customer, I would like to see the city reach out to Sonic to see what, if anything, they might have to offer helping Palo Alto move towards a fiber connected city. I would have far more confidence in what Sonic has to say, an ISP with a track record, compared to city staff with little more than dream of dark fiber.


9 people like this
Posted by Cable CO_OP
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 28, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Fibre?? Any chance we can get that Verizon cell tower at the old ball park by 2018? Do we need to hire somebody at almost 300k for that too?


3 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 29, 2015 at 8:43 am

Fiber user fees are paying fiber and wireless bills, including consultants and staff, not taxpayer money.

Big difference.


2 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:17 am

While I am not able to assess the technical or financial merits of one approach versus another, I simply do not trust current city management to undertake a project of this complexity and scale.


17 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:33 am

I support the city extending the current fiber ring to homes in Palo Alto. It's a natural expansion of our city owned utilities (water, power, sewer, etc.). The current fiber ring is making a profit, we can leverage that to bring fiber based Internet to the home.




6 people like this
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:34 pm

common sense: Backbone connectivity in Palo Alto is already very good. We've had PAIX (The Palo Alto Internet Exchange) since 1996. The problem has always been the last mile, and extending the already existing Palo Alto fiber ring to residents is a wonderful idea. The sooner we can do this, the better.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 29, 2015 at 10:27 pm

" Backbone connectivity in Palo Alto is already very good. We've had PAIX (The Palo Alto Internet Exchange) since 1996."

PAIX is a regional net resource, not our private municipal toy.


4 people like this
Posted by skeptical of AT&T
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2015 at 10:20 am

Although only 3 blocks from the downtown AT&T hub, we could not get reliable internet from them--in and out numerous times per day. Very courteous helpers came, and after ferreting around, their response would be that we were too far away from the drop (three blocks??!!). We finally switched to sonic and are pleased to have reliable, if pokey, service. I don't trust AT&T to be able to bring it properly.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2015 at 1:19 pm

PatrickD,

The problem is no longer the last mile in Palo Alto. We have 150 mbs connectivity from Comcast.

The problems are with the application servers and the connectivity to them.

These applications are not designed for high speeds. Adding a gigabit connection to your house won't help much.



4 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 30, 2015 at 5:16 pm

"Adding a gigabit connection to your house won't help much."

Maybe not, but we'll have FTTP before Mountain View gets it, so we win.


Like this comment
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 1, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Crumudgeon: I don't believe I ever suggested it was? My point was that we have fast connectivity in Palo Alto, just not to the last mile. We can sort out any transit/peering agreements for reasonable connectivity.

Robert Smith: Personally I'd rather have a 1+GB Fiber than be beholden to a company which has demonstrated repeatedly how little they value their customers. Also, stating that application servers can not (and will not) serve at high speeds is demonstrably not true. You should check this place out, it's pretty cool: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm

"Crumudgeon: I don't believe I ever suggested it [PAIX] was [our private municipal toy]? My point was that we have fast connectivity in Palo Alto, just not to the last mile. We can sort out any transit/peering agreements for reasonable connectivity."

Then don't treat it like one. Be businesslike, and get those agreements in place, at least in a binding MOU, before committing a dime to building municipal FTTH. You absolutely need a firm upfront understanding of the scope and capabilities of your feedpoint resources in this kind of undertaking.


4 people like this
Posted by Roy Zawadzki
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 1, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Hey guys! I wrote an article for the Verde, Paly's feature magazine, about the dominance of Comcast and AT&T in Palo Alto and we should be moving forward with implementing high speed internet. Check it out here: Web Link
Thank you for reading!


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 1, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

Roy, it is doubtful YouTube is loading slowly for your because Comcast is throttling your connection. Much more likely it is your local wifi connection, or upstream network congestion.

You can go to this page that Comcast provides, and not only will it give you a speed report, it will tell you if there has been any traffic management on your connection the last month.

Web Link

Also, "fair" is a useless adjective to use when discussing ISPs. What makes Google more fair than AT&T or Comcast? Do you want fair or fast? Google has the exact same traffic management policies as other ISPs, they will throttle your bandwidth when over capacity. This is from their fiber legal page:

"In the unlikely event that users' aggregate demand exceeds the available capacity of the network and creates acute congestion, Google Fiber will employ various techniques to ensure that subscribers continue to have a positive experience. In times of acute congestion, Google Fiber Internet service bandwidth will be fairly allocated among subscribers without regard to the subscribers’ online activities or the protocols or applications that the subscribers are using. While acute congestion is occurring, subscribers will still be able to use the lawful content, services, and applications of their choice, but this fair sharing of bandwidth may result in slower download and upload speeds and slower response times from websites and Internet-based applications and services. "


4 people like this
Posted by Roy Zawadzki
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 1, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Hello "Slow Down"
I can guarantee you that it is not a problem with my personal connection as I am using a direct Ethernet connection to my router. Google say themselves in their infographic about slow loading times that many of the times, it is the ISP that causes the slow speeds. This so-called "upstream network congestion," which is according to Wikipedia, increased server congestion on the ISPs' server, is up to the ISP to fix.

I think fair is a perfect way to describe an ISP as with any other business: they must treat their customers well and give them quality service. There has been multiple instances where Comcast has been unfair to their customers.
Web Link
Web Link

These articles are not anecdotal evidence. There is a reason why Comcast was voted the "Worst Company in America" in 2014 Web Link
The fact that Google Fiber may throttle does not take away from the fact that Comcast is an unfair company that purposely slows down people's speeds on YouTube and Netflix. Web Link You can see that based off of rating and performance there is a huge difference between Google Fiber and Comcast. I stand by my statement along with most people who know the issues surrounding these companies that Comcast and AT&T are terrible corporations.



2 people like this
Posted by Roy Zawadzki
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 1, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Also that web link you gave me: why would Comcast reveal in their own tool the illegal acts that they have been performing? How about a 3rd party tool that determines this? How can we really be sure that they are telling the truth if they want their customers to keep on purchasing their product?


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 2, 2015 at 12:26 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Roy Zawadzki - It isn't an argument to say Comcast is unpopular - they are. The links you provide say absolutely nothing about the quality of their service. If you want to write an article about why you don't like Comcast, by all means go ahead. But I'm not sure you understand the technical and legal issues. Comcast isn't doing anything "illegal", and if you think they are, please point to some evidence, both of what they did and what law you think they are breaking. What would be illegal is creating a fake tool to lie about whether they are using traffic management, so I can assure you it is silly to suggest it is fake.

It isn't an ISPs job, or even possible for them, to guarantee full bandwidth once the traffic leaves their network. A good ISP will do what they can, but the internet is a big place. FWIW, Comcast is an official "HD approved" youtube HD provider, so much more likely the issue is you and your network, your router, your computer, than Comcast. Comcast and google are peering directly with each other, so that's exactly the best case routing scenario.

You can see yourself that Google is providing data that they delivering HD streams to Palo Alto Comcast customers 96% of the time.

Web Link#


Like this comment
Posted by Roy Zawadzki
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm

@Slow Down
What Comcast is doing is in fact illegal. As the FCC has now classified telecommunications, such as Internet, as Title II communications. This prohibits an ISP to give priority of some apps/services over others (also known as Net Neutrality) which may include throttling because they are a "common carrier" Web Link
The "HD approved" aspect that google has does not necessarily mean the ISP is offering good service. For all we know, Comcast could have paid google to put them on their "list." It is not unknown for Comcast to do shady things. This "HD Verified" list is a fairly weak source to be basing an argument that Comcast delivers good service to its customers. This list could be nothing more than a marketing ploy.


Like this comment
Posted by Brendan
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

Brendan is a registered user.

All I know is that my brother in Chattanooga gets 10Gb (yes, 10...not a typo) service to his home for less than $100/month.

This has been an ongoing (...and ongoing...and ongoing...and ongoing...) project in Palo Alto.

While I have zero faith that anything will happen soon, I'm ashamed that this is the case

So, could someone please tell me how Chattanooga, TN gets 10G and we get Craptastic? Political? Technical?


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Brendan, residences in Chattanooga can get the following services from EPB, the municipal FTTP network there:
* 100-Mbps symmetrical Internet service for $57.99/month,
* 1-Gbps symmetrical Internet service for $69.99/month, and
Web Link
* 10-Gbps symmetrical Internet service for $299/month
Web Link
Chattanooga's first 10-Gbps residential customer was Dr. Jim Busch. who wanted it for transmitting diagnostic image files.
Web Link

So why did municipal FTTP happen in Chattanooga but not, so far, in Palo Alto? City staff say that EPB got a $111 million grant. But EPB was already offering triple-play services before they got the grant, and the grant was for smart grid stuff, not Internet. Staff like to say how fearsome Palo Alto's telecom incumbents, AT&T and Comcast, are. But the incumbents in Chattanooga are AT&T and Comcast. EPB had the advantage of already having its own municipal electric utility, but so does Palo Alto. Tennessee's state laws are more restrictive than California's concerning municipal broadband.

So, why not here in Palo Alto? Ask City Council members.


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Stan, On 09-28-15, Council asked staff to do a number of things, including move forward with a Request For Information (RFI) asking for bids from entities that wanted to propose how FTTP could be accomplished in Palo Alto. When this RFI is issued, Sonic can offer a bid. But on 11-30-15, staff said it had not made progress on this RFI, because there was a lot to do and Council hadn't prioritized what to do first.

By the way, in Palo Alto, Sonic just uses AT&T's physical infrastructure, which is not FTTP. But in a few other communities, Sonic uses its own FTTP infrastructure.

I would like to see the City own its own FTTP infrastructure. If Sonic wants to run it, that would probably be fine.


Like this comment
Posted by Brendan
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Brendan is a registered user.

Thanks for the explanation Jeff.

So there really is no "real" reason for denying fiber to the home then...

I pose the question to city council members then. Why not fiber to the home? Enough with the endless studies and kicking the can down the road...do something tangible...something beyond another study.

5 years from the end of the FTTP/FTTH trial (circa 2001) was a reasonable time to make up your mind (as an entity). 10 years was ridiculous and embarrassing. Coming up on 15 years...enough's enough. Do SOMETHING!


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Roy Zawadzki - [Portion removed.] Comcast isn't doing anything illegal, what they are doing is peering with google. It is exactly what you wish they were doing with Netflix. Comcast doesn't throttle any service, period. The most they might do is throttle an individual user during peak times when capacity is maxed out, and they tell you when they do it. [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Jeff Hoel - You can't disentangle the Chattanooga FTTH from the $111 million dollar grant or from the electric company's deployment of the smart meters, for which contributed $160million. The project wouldn't have happened if the electric company didn't want to build and network to enable deployment of smart meters. The plan was a 10 years of construction, but the $111 million federal grant turned it into a 3 year process. The grant came in year 2, when only ~10% of customers had been connected, so it ended up having a huge impact. Also, the municipal service was extremely expensive for customers until very recently. 50mp was $175 a month, 1gb was $350 a month.

If you want to hold up Chattanooga as a model, then we need to find $100million in free money, then see if PA Utilities is interested in putting in another $160 million, and then maybe ask the city if the could put up the last $71 million, and we could match the $331 million it cost Chattanooga. I know Chattnooga is ~50% larger, so it would be a smaller build out here, but once you factor in how much more it costs to do work in California, especially Palo Alto, not sure we'd pay less.


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Slow Down, I picked Chattanooga because Brendan picked it. Sure, the smart grid grant affected things, but EPB had already committed to citywide FTTP (and smart grid) before it got the grant.

Chattanooga EPB has 170,000 premises that are electric customers and are therefore candidates for FTTP service.
Web Link
The CTC report considered a FTTP network for Palo Alto that would have passed 25,901 premises.
Web Link

So, in that case, the ratio of EPB premises to Palo Alto premises is 6.553:1 (not 1.5:1). The CTC report said it didn't include 5,226 MDU premises and 734 large businesses premises in its analysis; had it done so, there would have been 31,861 premises. In that case, the ratio of EPB to Palo Alto premises would have been 5.336:1. So all your calculations are off for that reason. Besides, EPB's $331 million included the cost of smart grid, but the CTC report isn't including anything for that.

EPB offerings have gotten faster and less expensive over the years.
On 09-10-09, they were: 15 Mbps ($58), 20 Mbps ($70) and 50 Mbps ($175).
Web Link
On 09-20-10, they were: 30 Mbps ($58), 50 Mbps ($71), 100 Mbps ($140) and 1 Gbps ($350).
Web Link
Today, they are:100 Mbps ($57.99), 1 Gbps ($69.99) and 10 Gbps ($299). Today, EPB has 75,000 FTTP customers (for a take rate of 44.1 percent), so customers must find the prices attractive.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm

"So, why not here in Palo Alto?"

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Slow Down, let's pick another example: the NextLight municipal FTTP network in Longmont, CO.

I don't have a direct estimate of how many premises could potentially get FTTP service in Longmont once the network is built out citywide, so let's compare populations. Longmont's population is 89,919, and Palo Alto's is 66,642 (both as of 2013). So the ratio is 1:35:1.

Longmont bonded for $40,320,000 to build out FTTP citywide.
Web Link
So, according to the population ratio, maybe Palo Alto's citywide FTTP network should cost $29,882,410 (not $77.6 million, as the CTC report estimates).

This slide show summary of a feasibility report for Longmont says that the cost-per-premises-passed should be $596.
Web Link
For Palo Alto, the CTC report estimates $1,357. This despite the fact that most of Longmont's fiber infrastructure must be undergrounded (which is usually more expensive than aerial) but most of Palo Alto's fiber infrastructure can be aerial.


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Jeff Hoel - The Longmont numbers look better (they are building out to a potential of 37k households) than Chattanooga. I don't think it is unreasonable to assume a 50%-100% premium in costs to build out in Palo Alto. Undergrounding fiber in a semi-rural town like Longmont is often just a minimum wage employee and a trencher. Another piece that is interesting about Longmont is they are doing internet and phone only, no TV. I assume that saves them quite a bit in the initial infrastructure and equipment. Last point on Longmont, they did try private partnership first, and only build as a last resort. That's all I'd want to see here - a serious engagement with Google, and Sonic, and anyone else suitable, before the city takes it on.


Like this comment
Posted by @slow down
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 11, 2015 at 11:08 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Brendan
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Brendan is a registered user.

I'd be for most anything, though it should be noted that going private has failed in the past.

As far as cost... It's not getting any cheaper. :)


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Slow Down, The U.S. Census Bureau says Longmont has 33,551 households, 35,008 housing units, and 9,100 businesses.
Web Link
And Palo Alto has 26,229 households, 28,216 housing units, and 10,175 businesses
Web Link
I don't know how to translate this information reliably into premises to be passed.

I don't know how to measure rurality. Longmont has 4,123 people per square mile, Palo Alto has 2,584.

Yes, Longmont is doing Internet and (outsourced) phone but no TV. The CTC report is based on Palo Alto's doing only Internet.

Yes, Longmont tried a public-private partnership with Adesta (2000-2001) (the partner went bankrupt) before trying the municipal option.
Web Link

Palo Alto tried forming a public-private partnership with the 180 Connect Consortium (2005-2009) (but a go-ahead deal was not reached).


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Slow Down (12-10-15, 11:07 pm), Comcast doesn't throttle any service? Years ago, Comcast used to sabotage messages that used the BitTorrent protocol, by corrupting packets so that they would ask the receiver to break the connection. But some very clever users noticed the corrupted packets and complained.

FCC held a hearing on April 17, 2008, (at Stanford University) to consider the issue.
Web Link
See Robb Topolski's testimony here:
Web Link

On 08-01-08, FCC voted that what Comcast was doing was illegal, according to these articles:
08-03-15: "FCC Rules Against Comcast for BitTorrent Blocking"
Web Link
08-20-15: "FCC formally rules Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent was Illegal"
Web Link
See the FCC ruling itself for further information.
Web Link

Maybe Comcast doesn't throttle anymore, but how would we know?


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 12, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Square mile and population density calculations for Palo Alto should differentiate between Lowland Palo Alto and Highland Palo Alto, drawing the line somewhere on the city limit shoe-string crossing I-280. Of the 24 square miles, I measure 14 sq mi on the bay side of 280 and 10 sq mi on the other side.

Of the approx 67,000 population, does anyone know how many reside west of 280?

Our relevant population density is thus more comparable to Longmont,
as Longmont has a much smaller proportion of open space within city limits.


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 12, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Jeff Hoel - Comcast does not throttle specific services, because, as you said yourself, it is illegal. You are linking documents that are ~7 years old about events 10 years ago that are long resolved. Do you have any evidence Comcast is throttle services? Or just throwing mud trying to gin up support for for another government boondoggle? Do you think Palo Alto would do better at running an internet service than it doesn't running things that are core to city government like building a library? Or getting a pedestrian/bike bridge designed and built?

37,000 is the number from the interview you transcribed with Tom Roiniotis. General Manager of Longmont Power & Communications, so that's probably more accurate than the using census data.

"Chris: [...]Do you have a number of the approximate number of premises that will have access to the fiber within Longmont?

Tom: About 37,000."


Like this comment
Posted by Saurocrat
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 13, 2015 at 6:07 pm

Slow Down, here is an article about Comcast slowing down netflix Web Link. Netflix had to pay Comcast to stop doing what is now an illegal activity. ISPs also speed up connections to speed test websites so that they can fool their users into thinking they have a reliable connection.


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 13, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Saurocrat - You didn't read the article you linked to, did you? It says Comcast wasn't throttling Netflix. There was nothing illegal, obviously.

From the article you posted:

"Much like Netflix’s ongoing standoff with Verizon FiOS, the drop in speeds wasn’t an issue of the ISP throttling or blocking service to Netflix. Rather, the ISPs were allowing for Netflix traffic to bottleneck at what’s known as “peering ports,” the connection between Netflix’s bandwidth provider and the ISPs."

When there is a bottleneck at a peering point, the responsibility to fix it can fall on different parties depending on the situation. If it was illegal, why did Netflix pay to fix the problem?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

El Camino: Another scheme to increase congestion?
By Douglas Moran | 10 comments | 1,906 views

Post-election reflections -- and sponges
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 1,665 views

Couples: Philosophy of Love
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,328 views

Trials of My Grandmother
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 871 views