News

Palo Alto moves toward citywide fiber expansion

City Council approves plan to build out fiber backbone, bring municipal internet to all neighborhoods

Under a proposal from Magellan Advisors, Palo Alto would expand its existing fiber network into a 43-mile fiber backbone, which would later be used to create a Fiber to the Home system. Courtesy Magellan Advisors.

After nearly two decades of debate, Palo Alto took a significant step Monday toward transforming the city's fiber system from a small network that mostly serves critical city facilities and large commercial customers to one that could deliver high-speed internet system to every local home and business.

By a unanimous vote, the City Council advanced a work plan for gradually expanding the city's existing fiber ring to all areas of the city — a project that over the years has been referred to as Fiber to the Home or Fiber to the Premises. The expansion would take place in at least two phases, with the first one focusing on expanding the fiber backbone to make it available for more city departments and the second one targeting neighborhoods throughout Palo Alto.

The idea is far from new. City officials have long considered expanding the fiber network, which was established in 1996 and which now serves about 220 commercial customers and generates about $4 million in annual revenues. To date, however, the journey has been filled with false starts, half-measures and disappointments. In 2009, the city's prospective partnership with a consortium of tech firms for the buildout of the fiber network collapsed because of the economic downturn. Since then, officials have been considering different models for the fiber expansion and commissioning numerous studies in the process, only to return inevitably to step one.

This time, city leaders and proponents of Fiber to the Home believe things are different. The COVID-19 pandemic, they argued Monday, has demonstrated both the critical value of having reliable high-speed internet and the shortcomings of existing providers in meeting local demand. And a new study from the firm Magellan Advisors, which has worked with dozens of municipalities to develop municipal fiber networks, makes a case that a municipal fiber system would not only enhance all sorts of city services — from traffic management to emergency preparedness — but also generate money and improve the customer experience.

The study estimated that it would cost about $22 million for the city to roughly double the fiber network in the first phase of the expansion, an endeavor that could be paid for at least in large part through the fiber utility's existing reserve of nearly $35 million. This would create a 44-mile fiber network that flows through neighborhoods and business districts and that includes dedicated fibers for the utility operations, for every other city department and for commercial user.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

The new network would also enable expansion toward Fiber to the Home, a much more ambitious project with an estimated price tag of about $98 million. The city also has the option of teaming up with private companies — an option that would reduce both the city's costs and its control over the network. Under that scenario, the system would cost about $86.5 million and shift some of the risk away from the city.

The council largely rejected that approach. Instead, the majority agreed that it would like to see the city build and operate its own system, much like the 63 other cities across the nation that currently provide direct internet service to their customers. Mayor Tom DuBois, a longtime champion of Fiber to the Home, said the municipal system would "pay for itself."

"It's going to generate money for the city," DuBois said. "It's going to save our residents a lot of money and it's going to enable businesses."

John Honker, CEO of Magellan, told the council that the new plan presents the city with an opportunity to reinvest in a valuable asset — its fiber ring — at a time when the need for the city to connect more services is rapidly expanding. His company's analysis showed that the city would need about a third of local households and businesses to plug into the system for the operation to break even. Some cities that his company has been working with have done far better than that, with Longmont, Colorado, enjoying a 54% take rate for its municipal system, he said.

The operation does, however, come with some risks — namely, stiff competition from the two incumbent providers, Comcast and AT&T, as well as smaller boutique providers. At other jurisdictions, Honker said, existing firms "took a shotgun approach" and launched negative campaigns against municipal offerings.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

"They spent marketing dollars to try to dissuade each of the cities from building out, they lobbied commissioners, they lobbied the city managers, they did everything they could until the point that the project was green-lighted, and then it was just a matter of competing," Honker said.

"It's stiff competition because they are established companies," he added. "But they don't have good reputations and the reputation that they have are one of the biggest challenges that they face when going up against municipal providers."

Utilities staff, which in the past has been hesitant to undertake a major expansion without private partnerships, similarly pointed to competition from the private sector as a major risk. The industry will "fight not to lose a single customer," a report from the Utilities Department states.

"Private sector competition plus the City's ability to host and support a private sector offering are considered the greatest vulnerabilities of City-provided internet services," the report states.

Despite that risk, council members agreed to follow the direction of its Utilities Advisory Commission and staff and to move ahead with a massive buildout of the fiber system. The council directed staff and Magellan to provide a create a detailed engineering design for both the near-term expansion of the fiber backbone and the eventual Fiber to the Home system, as well as to create a business model for turning the city into an internet service provider, which could entail outsourcing some of the functions.

The city also moving ahead with a more detailed risk analysis and a community survey designed to gauge local interest in municipal fiber. The council's timeline calls for having Fiber to the Home in place within five years.

Andy Poggio, a longtime proponent of the citywide system, was among those who urged the council on Monday to advance the effort.

"We all know the advantages of the municipal fiber system for Palo Alto, attracting startups and new businesses, improving age-in-place, enabling better work from home, keeping Palo Alto a uniquely desirable place to live," Poggio said. "Let's take this opportunity to build a 100% Palo Alto Fiber to the Home now."

The pandemic has only strengthened the case for municipal fiber, said Loren Smith, a member of the Utilities Advisory Commission.

"Our children and our community were forced overnight to switch to a work-from-home, school-from-home, life-at-home quarantine space, all of which significantly increase the demand on our existing broadband networks — most, to unsatisfactory levels," Smith said. "As children and parents all jumped online, existing broadband services were crippled and buckled under the strain."

Council members largely agreed, even as they expressed some concerns about issuing debt or relying too much on the fiber reserve to pay for the expansion. Greg Tanaka, the council's staunchest fiscal conservative, suggested looking into an "open access" model in which private providers help the city build the network and then are allowed to use it to provide services (Honker suggested that such a model is unlikely to succeed in Palo Alto because telecoms are unlikely to invest in capital costs for the city-owned system). But Tanaka, who struggled with his own AT&T-provided connection earlier in the meeting, ultimately joined the rest of the council in advancing the project.

Other council members were more bullish about municipal fiber. Council member Greer Stone argued that it will represent a reliable revenue stream, while council member Lydia Kou suggested that it will improve internet reliability for local residents.

"This year, we've seen how much this is needed," Kou said, citing unstable internet connection during council meetings. "This is a great investment for our community."

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Your support is vital to us continuing to bring you city government news. Become a member today.

Palo Alto moves toward citywide fiber expansion

City Council approves plan to build out fiber backbone, bring municipal internet to all neighborhoods

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, May 25, 2021, 9:41 am

After nearly two decades of debate, Palo Alto took a significant step Monday toward transforming the city's fiber system from a small network that mostly serves critical city facilities and large commercial customers to one that could deliver high-speed internet system to every local home and business.

By a unanimous vote, the City Council advanced a work plan for gradually expanding the city's existing fiber ring to all areas of the city — a project that over the years has been referred to as Fiber to the Home or Fiber to the Premises. The expansion would take place in at least two phases, with the first one focusing on expanding the fiber backbone to make it available for more city departments and the second one targeting neighborhoods throughout Palo Alto.

The idea is far from new. City officials have long considered expanding the fiber network, which was established in 1996 and which now serves about 220 commercial customers and generates about $4 million in annual revenues. To date, however, the journey has been filled with false starts, half-measures and disappointments. In 2009, the city's prospective partnership with a consortium of tech firms for the buildout of the fiber network collapsed because of the economic downturn. Since then, officials have been considering different models for the fiber expansion and commissioning numerous studies in the process, only to return inevitably to step one.

This time, city leaders and proponents of Fiber to the Home believe things are different. The COVID-19 pandemic, they argued Monday, has demonstrated both the critical value of having reliable high-speed internet and the shortcomings of existing providers in meeting local demand. And a new study from the firm Magellan Advisors, which has worked with dozens of municipalities to develop municipal fiber networks, makes a case that a municipal fiber system would not only enhance all sorts of city services — from traffic management to emergency preparedness — but also generate money and improve the customer experience.

The study estimated that it would cost about $22 million for the city to roughly double the fiber network in the first phase of the expansion, an endeavor that could be paid for at least in large part through the fiber utility's existing reserve of nearly $35 million. This would create a 44-mile fiber network that flows through neighborhoods and business districts and that includes dedicated fibers for the utility operations, for every other city department and for commercial user.

The new network would also enable expansion toward Fiber to the Home, a much more ambitious project with an estimated price tag of about $98 million. The city also has the option of teaming up with private companies — an option that would reduce both the city's costs and its control over the network. Under that scenario, the system would cost about $86.5 million and shift some of the risk away from the city.

The council largely rejected that approach. Instead, the majority agreed that it would like to see the city build and operate its own system, much like the 63 other cities across the nation that currently provide direct internet service to their customers. Mayor Tom DuBois, a longtime champion of Fiber to the Home, said the municipal system would "pay for itself."

"It's going to generate money for the city," DuBois said. "It's going to save our residents a lot of money and it's going to enable businesses."

John Honker, CEO of Magellan, told the council that the new plan presents the city with an opportunity to reinvest in a valuable asset — its fiber ring — at a time when the need for the city to connect more services is rapidly expanding. His company's analysis showed that the city would need about a third of local households and businesses to plug into the system for the operation to break even. Some cities that his company has been working with have done far better than that, with Longmont, Colorado, enjoying a 54% take rate for its municipal system, he said.

The operation does, however, come with some risks — namely, stiff competition from the two incumbent providers, Comcast and AT&T, as well as smaller boutique providers. At other jurisdictions, Honker said, existing firms "took a shotgun approach" and launched negative campaigns against municipal offerings.

"They spent marketing dollars to try to dissuade each of the cities from building out, they lobbied commissioners, they lobbied the city managers, they did everything they could until the point that the project was green-lighted, and then it was just a matter of competing," Honker said.

"It's stiff competition because they are established companies," he added. "But they don't have good reputations and the reputation that they have are one of the biggest challenges that they face when going up against municipal providers."

Utilities staff, which in the past has been hesitant to undertake a major expansion without private partnerships, similarly pointed to competition from the private sector as a major risk. The industry will "fight not to lose a single customer," a report from the Utilities Department states.

"Private sector competition plus the City's ability to host and support a private sector offering are considered the greatest vulnerabilities of City-provided internet services," the report states.

Despite that risk, council members agreed to follow the direction of its Utilities Advisory Commission and staff and to move ahead with a massive buildout of the fiber system. The council directed staff and Magellan to provide a create a detailed engineering design for both the near-term expansion of the fiber backbone and the eventual Fiber to the Home system, as well as to create a business model for turning the city into an internet service provider, which could entail outsourcing some of the functions.

The city also moving ahead with a more detailed risk analysis and a community survey designed to gauge local interest in municipal fiber. The council's timeline calls for having Fiber to the Home in place within five years.

Andy Poggio, a longtime proponent of the citywide system, was among those who urged the council on Monday to advance the effort.

"We all know the advantages of the municipal fiber system for Palo Alto, attracting startups and new businesses, improving age-in-place, enabling better work from home, keeping Palo Alto a uniquely desirable place to live," Poggio said. "Let's take this opportunity to build a 100% Palo Alto Fiber to the Home now."

The pandemic has only strengthened the case for municipal fiber, said Loren Smith, a member of the Utilities Advisory Commission.

"Our children and our community were forced overnight to switch to a work-from-home, school-from-home, life-at-home quarantine space, all of which significantly increase the demand on our existing broadband networks — most, to unsatisfactory levels," Smith said. "As children and parents all jumped online, existing broadband services were crippled and buckled under the strain."

Council members largely agreed, even as they expressed some concerns about issuing debt or relying too much on the fiber reserve to pay for the expansion. Greg Tanaka, the council's staunchest fiscal conservative, suggested looking into an "open access" model in which private providers help the city build the network and then are allowed to use it to provide services (Honker suggested that such a model is unlikely to succeed in Palo Alto because telecoms are unlikely to invest in capital costs for the city-owned system). But Tanaka, who struggled with his own AT&T-provided connection earlier in the meeting, ultimately joined the rest of the council in advancing the project.

Other council members were more bullish about municipal fiber. Council member Greer Stone argued that it will represent a reliable revenue stream, while council member Lydia Kou suggested that it will improve internet reliability for local residents.

"This year, we've seen how much this is needed," Kou said, citing unstable internet connection during council meetings. "This is a great investment for our community."

Comments

pestocat
Registered user
University South
on May 25, 2021 at 11:02 am
pestocat, University South
Registered user
on May 25, 2021 at 11:02 am

With this Fiber to the Home system, has a data rate and cost been established for the home user.


Judith Wasserman
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 25, 2021 at 11:06 am
Judith Wasserman, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on May 25, 2021 at 11:06 am

I suppose the premise is that fiber should go to the premises. Premise is not the singular of premises when "premises" refers to a location.


Gennady Sheyner
Registered user
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 25, 2021 at 11:19 am
Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
Registered user
on May 25, 2021 at 11:19 am

Thank you, @Judith. Duly noted and corrected.


Brendan
Registered user
South of Midtown
on May 25, 2021 at 12:38 pm
Brendan, South of Midtown
Registered user
on May 25, 2021 at 12:38 pm

The arguments against FTTH have always been penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Nice to see something positive on this front. At the very least, maybe this will push AT&T to offer something other than 90s-quality DSL crap...


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2021 at 6:53 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 6:53 am

Amazing! We can't underground our powerlines, but we can do this!

Our power is unreliable at best. Will this be the same?


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 8:50 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 8:50 am

"Our power is unreliable at best. Will this be the same?"

You'll find out when the city gets its usual stellar customer service in place. You'll get the same 2-week response time as you get for power outage updates.


Scott
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 26, 2021 at 9:02 am
Scott, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 9:02 am

For many years, I had hopes, and even wondered if it there were some way to privately do like a street-level co-op to bring something like this in. Then ... AT&T gave us fiber over the winter, and reasonably priced, and Comcast offered stronger speeds for cheaper. I had given up on getting this, but there you are. This kind of city project is a great idea for 2011 when the offerings were uniformly lacking, but in 2021 and now it feels like it's kind of too little, too late.


rsmithjr
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2021 at 10:12 am
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 10:12 am

@Scott:

Great observation, thanks!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 10:24 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 10:24 am

I can't believe PA is considering spending $120,000,000 when it's pleading poverty and can't even keep its libraries open more than 4 days a week or offer timely customer service responses to power outages.

At the CC meeting on this, they talked about only hooking up properties whose owners committed to subscribing to the service. What happens when properties are sold and new owners want the service or they don't want to pay for the service previously ordered?


rsmithjr
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2021 at 11:30 am
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 11:30 am

@Online Name:

The library is a loss center. There is no practical way for the city to monetize it.

Municipal fiber is on the other hand potentially a profit center. They are willing to put a lot of money into it regardless of what the actual need is and what the risks are.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 11:58 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 11:58 am

@rsmithjr, True. The key word is POTENTIAl profit center since the city hasn't demonstrated any skill in providing the required level of customer service.

Also, please explain my point in the second paragraph about connecting / disconnecting property owners with different needs. Will the FTTH be connected a few years later to a property owner who wants it later or are they out of luck forever?

This cash cow resents being milked by the city to keep its consultant gravy train running while it can't provide the basic services that WE taxpayers want.


rsmithjr
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm

@Online Name:

I don't know what the city is actually planning to do, so let me fall back to what I have seen in other places.

In the old days when cable systems were "new builds", the cable company typically would take a neighborhood, have something of an "event" to get people to sign up, and do the whole neighborhood at the same time. This would get high penetration rates, but often with high churn rates later.

Today, with overbuilds (which is what the city will be), it is more common to try to pick areas that are likely to have customers with small construction costs. Google Fiber has practically been "red-lining" when they select areas they will cover.

They may also run the main fiber down the street, pick up what they can, and then wait for more customers to follow. This can be very expensive if you choose wrong.

Note also that Palo Altans get very annoyed with construction in their neighborhoods.

I doubt that there would be only one chance to get installed if that was your question. Usually, if the street is wired, they will send in a truck to wire you if you ask, in most communities.

It is noteworthy that many people who express interest in switching to a new system will nevertheless decide that their current vendor is good enough to keep, especially if the current vendor is offering incentives to remain.

Palo Alto is going to have to be careful to choose policies that will not annoy members of the community but will still be economically sensible. I do not envy their situation. Let's hope for the best.


KOhlson
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2021 at 1:16 pm
KOhlson, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Thanks to Tom Dubois and others who helped push through this first stage. I am a fan of fiber and believe the city will do well with this initiative.


densely
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 8:03 pm
densely, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 26, 2021 at 8:03 pm

If 220 business customers are currently paying $4 million a year, they're paying an average of $1500 a month. How much will we be paying to provide the city a profit on this service?


Brendan
Registered user
South of Midtown
on May 29, 2021 at 2:56 pm
Brendan, South of Midtown
Registered user
on May 29, 2021 at 2:56 pm

I am genuinely happy to see progress. Comcast does offer fair-to-middling "gigabit" (usually closer to 500Mbps/30Mbps) service...it's what I'm presently stuck with... AT&T is _still_ only 18Mbps in my neighborhood (90s quality crapola IMHO!).

I believe that municipal fiber can work (the "dark fiber" is already profitable for the city) if done correctly. Perhaps, follow models that have worked well? Say, Chattanooga?

Web Link

At minimum, competition for AT&T and Comcast would be good. Their internet-only rates are just not competitive (on a national and certainly on a global level) at this point in time...


Curmudgeon
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2021 at 6:20 pm
Curmudgeon, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jun 1, 2021 at 6:20 pm

This is very good news, for Netflix


Jeffrey Lane
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:19 am
Jeffrey Lane, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:19 am

200 mps should be the established standard regardless of the connection.

At our primary home in Torrey Pines (San Diego County) we are getting 220 mps via Spectrum and in Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles County) our other home is receiving on average 190+ though Cox.

For an upscale, high-tech community Palo Alto really needs to step things up.

Get out of the internet ice age as I am currently getting about 80 mps via WiFi while in town to check on our rental unit off Alma.

Unacceptable in the modern world.


rsmithjr
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2021 at 2:14 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2021 at 2:14 pm

@Jeffrey Lane:

I have been using Comcast 200 mb service for many years now. Works reliably and is fast even with multiple users. My grandson is here right now using it. You can get 1gb from Comcast in many areas.

AT&T has been installing fiber with speeds of 300mb, 500mb, and 1gb. Only some areas right now.

I suggest that if you want faster speeds here in PA, you can get them right now from incumbent providers. I think you will find our options to be comparable to what you have in SoCal.

Good luck.




Luther Payne
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Jun 2, 2021 at 8:35 pm
Luther Payne, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2021 at 8:35 pm

200 mps sounds remarkably fast. How long has it been available?

I am currently using a dial-up modem and it only get about 56 kps.

Trying to download a video stream is very time consuming and sometimes it stops loading altogether.

On the other hand, the monthly service is very reasonable and along with my refurbished Samsung Galaxy 3 I seem to be doing OK.


Curmudgeon
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:04 pm
Curmudgeon, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:04 pm

"I suggest that if you want faster speeds here in PA, you can get them right now from incumbent providers."

Yes. The major reason to build a municipal broadband system is to have a municipal broadband system. As a side benefit, it will probably absorb any pesky budgetary surpluses the city might stumble into.


Penelope Gerhardt
Registered user
another community
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:16 pm
Penelope Gerhardt, another community
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:16 pm

Why not simply offer all Palo Alto residents 5G cellular data access at below market costs?

Then people will buy new smartphones and this in turn will stimulate the economy.

They can use their stimulus checks.


rsmithjr
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:34 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:34 pm

@Luther Payne:

Comcast has had such speeds for about 8-10 years. I suggest your giving it a try.

If you live in a portion of the town currently wired for AT&T fiber, I suggest that instead. This is probably comparable service to what the city would provided, and at good prices.

56kb is just not going to do it today.

Cheers!


Jim Nemo
Registered user
Los Altos
on Jun 3, 2021 at 8:31 am
Jim Nemo, Los Altos
Registered user
on Jun 3, 2021 at 8:31 am

> "along with my refurbished Samsung Galaxy 3 I seem to be doing OK."

Along with using dial-up 56 kps internet service and an Android that no longer gets security updates (or a new OS anymore) this is like taking a quantum leap back to 1990 (internet) and 2012 (smartphone).


Edward Jones
Registered user
Stanford
on Jun 3, 2021 at 1:18 pm
Edward Jones, Stanford
Registered user
on Jun 3, 2021 at 1:18 pm

An older style flip phone or 'burner' adequately suffices for those who simply need convenient access to a phone.

And these older designs are not vulnerable to hacking and security breaches + they are small and fit in one's pocket or purse easily.

Smartphones are essentially a mini-tablet computer with call/text features.

They're excellent for people on the go, social media followers, and the plethora of networking teenagers.

One way to tell an old person vs a youngster on a smartphone...the young ones type with their thumbs while the older folks tend to hunt & peck with their index fingers.


Mondoman
Registered user
Green Acres
on Jun 3, 2021 at 11:36 pm
Mondoman, Green Acres
Registered user
on Jun 3, 2021 at 11:36 pm

@Edward Jones - you may be mistaken on the flip phones. Those were pretty much all 3G at most, which is either no longer supported or soon will lose support by the major US carriers. TMobile at is requiring at least 4G LTE support for even voice calls (VoLTE), and from what I can tell, the 4G LTE flip phones are running a modified Android or similar OS, and so are vulnerable to hacking and security breaches.


Cecelia Watson
Registered user
Stanford
on Jun 4, 2021 at 9:20 am
Cecelia Watson, Stanford
Registered user
on Jun 4, 2021 at 9:20 am

Verizon ceased its 3G network in 2020 while both AT&T and T-Mobile plan to do the same by 2022.

And AT&T/Tru-Mobile are no longer offering 3G services to new customers.

The 4G LTE flip phones run on a modified Android platform as Mondoman clarified but there some flip phone brands available only overseas that run on KAIos (a modified and bare blankets Linux system).

I have a smartphone for personal use and a burner for work-related calls.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.