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Family ConvenienceiPaloAlto is comprised of community people dedicated to the healthy birth of a valuable new open access fiber to the premise network (FTTP) available to every business, home, school, church, nonprofit, and government building in town. The question: “Why Palo Alto?” and “Why Now?” will be answered by your study of this site; click around, see for yourself.

City Council leadership has been proactive in seeking an acceptable path to citywide FTTP. Mayor Liz Kniss, Vice Mayor Eric Filseth, and council members Tom DuBois, Adrian Fine, Karen Holman, Lydia Kou, Greg Scharff, Greg Tanaka, and Cory Wolbach have all been engaged in a positive and constructive manner.

This project will be called “FiberPaloAlto™” until some other name proves more descriptive.

Breaking News — FiberPaloAlto™

August 21, 2017. City Council directs staff (passed 6-2) to develop a business case for Fiber to the Node (FTTN). Council Member DuBois moved, seconded by Council Member Fine to direct Staff to:

  1. Develop a business case for a municipal-provided Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN) network for fiber and broadband expansion (“Option 2”); engage a management consultant to develop the business case, funding plans, identify potential partners and/or service providers, and high level network design; and engage an engineering firm to design a FTTN network including an expansion option to build a citywide Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network; and
  2. Expand Wi-Fi to unserved City facilities and discontinue consideration of City-provided Wi-Fi in commercial areas; and
  3. Expediently return to Council with Ordinances that will lower the City’s FTTN construction costs such as a Dig Once, String Once Ordinance; a Multi-unit housing Ordinance; and a Microtrenching Ordinance.

Palo Alto Online says, “Council backs new vision for fiber network.”

October 25, 2016. Google Fiber suspends plans to build new fiber networks in eight metro areas, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Google metros include San Jose, Portland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, and Tampa. Palo Alto is in the San Jose Metro. First signs came in August, when Google Fiber installers in San Jose were “given the option to transfer elsewhere.” Access CEO Craig Barrett is out. Finding sales slow and fiber installations costly, Google plans to explore the possibility of wireless access for “the last mile,” but it could be years before something new is proposed.

March 11, 2016. Access to utility poles is the next big challenge for Google Fiber in Silicon Valley, the San Jose Mercury reports. Of the five San Jose Metro cities Google Fiber seems interested in serving, Palo Alto and Santa Clara control pole access rights, but San Jose, Sunnyvale and Mountain View do not.

Google has taken its case to the California Public Utilities Commission seeking the right to use publicly and privately owned utility poles because burying fiber cables is expensive and, in places, impossible,” the Mercury reports.

AT&T and the cable TV association representing Comcast and Time Warner Cable have told state regulators that Google has no such right. And Google contends the Northern California Joint Pole Association, a group that controls many Bay Area utility poles, and includes Google competitors as members, also has been blocking access to the poles.

‘Gaining access in a timely manner bears on Google Fiber's decisions whether to build new networks,’ Google lawyer Austin Schlick wrote in a Feb. 5 letter to the utilities commission,” the Mercury is saying.

February 22, 2016. “Google Fiber is bringing ultra-fast Internet” to Huntsville, Alabama by partnering with the municipal utility, the Huntsville Times reports.

We are building the network for our own purposes,” Huntsville utility President and CEO Jay Stowe said in an interview. “It's going to have excess fiber that's available for lease, and Google will be the first company to lease that fiber.”

Under the plan, Huntsville Utilities will own the system's fiber backbone, and Google will own the power line-to-home connections, handle all hookups and provide the services.

This is the first time we are partnering in this way,” Google Fiber Expansion Director Jill Szuchmacher said.

An open access muni fiber network model like this has been long sought by Palo Alto.

Might it possible for Google Fiber and the City of Palo Alto to cooperatively work out a similar agreement?

November 30, 2015. “Work Plan for Fiber to-the-Premises and Wireless Network and Ongoing Discussions with Google & AT&T,” is the title of the City Manager’s report to Council. Council directed staff to:

  1. Continue discussions with Google Fiber and AT&T regarding fiber network plans,
  2. Amend contracts with consultant CTC to upgrade the FTTP Master Plan and the Wireless Network Plan by increasing the original FTTP contract of $144,944 by $58,850 to $203,794, and increasing the original Wireless contract of $131,650 by $94,490 to $226,140.
  3. Create a temporary contract position of Fiber and Wireless Senior Program Manager with a maximum compensation of $228,000 per year for up to three years, and
  4. Continue with the work plan as described in the September 28, 2015 Council Motion.

September 28, 2015. ”Palo Alto inches closer to fiber network, WiFi expansion,” the Mercury News says. ”Council treads cautiously on fiber network,” Palo Alto Online reports.

Council motion passed 9-0 naming a ubiquitous fiber network the preferred City alternative:

  • Staff directed to explore cost-effective construction arrangements with other network builders in Palo Alto
  • Direct staff to bring a ‘dig once’ City ordinance to Council
  • Consultant reports on FTTP and wireless to be updated with citizen advisor oversight
  • Issue RFP to add wireless communications for emergency responders, with options for more WiFi in muni buildings, parks, and in retail areas
  • Fiber Fund reserves not to be used on wireless projects
  • Move forward with RFI exploring Muni-owned fiber network model and public-private model
  • August 20, 2015. Some key upcoming Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP)/Wireless plan dates were discussed during a public FTTP/Wireless Citizen's Advisory Committee meeting.

    June 29, 2015. The City Manager updated Palo Alto Council on several initiatives which may lead to an extension of one or more fiber networks into Palo Alto residential neighborhoods. Initiatives include a consultant working on a City Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) Master Plan and a City Wireless Network Plan, both likely to be considered by Council in October. Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower continue to express interest, as well.

    February 2, 2015. Palo Alto council eager to expand city’s fiber network, Palo Alto Online is reporting. Council voted to hire a consultant to develop a City Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) Master Plan and a City Wireless Network Plan. The plans may be ready for Council discussion by July. Council clearly would prefer Palo Alto own and control a fiber network serving the community.

    Google Fiber announced January 27 that they would be serving 18 Southwestern cities including Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham. No Google decision has yet been made about serving Palo Alto and four other Silicon Valley cities.

    What if Palo Alto invested in a fiber network on which Google provided Internet services? Could that be a win-win?

    December 19, 2014. Google Fiber needs more time (‘until early 2015’) to decide which of the earlier 34-named cities they will seek to serve. The five Silicon Valley cities on Google’s list are San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto.

    December 1, 2014. Staff-proposed FTTP and Wireless consultant agreement to be discussed by full Council during the February 2, 2015 Council meeting (Agenda Item 11). With a Google Fiber announcement anticipated within 90 days, three members of Council removed this item from the Consent Calendar, effectively postponing Council discussion until February 2015.

    October 20, 2014. Another Fiber-to-the-Premise resurrection for Palo Alto?, former Palo Alto Weekly editor Jay Thorwaldson asks in his opinion piece. Two things may be different this time, he is saying; 1) Google Fiber may come to Palo Alto, and 2) the Palo Alto Utility Fiber Fund now has about $20 million cash on hand from dark fiber user fees reserved for communications investment.

    August 11, 2014. A Hut Agreement with Google Fiber (as clarified) was agreed to by City Council with its affirmative vote on the Consent Agenda Item 6 with no discussion. The Google-proposed fiber hut, and city-owned land requested for it, is described on Page 3 of the linked staff report. The Hut Agreement completes all items on the Google Fiber Checklist. Now Palo Alto awaits a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ from Google Fiber promised by year-end. Meanwhile, the City will be considering its numerous fiber options, with or without Google.

    August 6, 2014. Palo Alto staff updates the Utilities Advisory Commission on City fiber and WiFi developments. One or two consultants are being sought to help staff plan next steps. Request for Proposals (RFPs) are out for help with 1) a City Fiber-to-the-Premise Master Plan and 2) a City Wireless Network Plan. One or more consultants may be selected by October 2014.

    On a parallel track, City staff responded to the Google Fiber Checklist by May 1 and, by agreement with Google, staff is working out a model Hut Agreement with them should Palo Alto ultimately be chosen as a Google Fiber city. Google has promised to notify, by the end of 2014, each of their 34 candidate communities whether they have been selected for a potential fiber build out.

    April 29, 2014. Palo Alto City Council accepts staff recommendations, with an affirmative vote on Consent Calendar Item 7 with no discussion, to respond to the Google Fiber Checklist by May 1, and to work toward a Hut Agreement.

    February 19, 2014. The City of Palo Alto is saying “it is on a short list of cities (34) working with Google to explore the possibility of bringing ultra high speed Google Fiber broadband network to the City.” Five of the 34 cities on Google’s list form the heart of Silicon Valley: Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and San Jose. This Google Fiber site has the complete list.   

    "Palo Alto competed in Google's initial competition to bring ultra high speed internet to cities," said Palo Alto City Manager James Keene. “We are pleased to accept Google’s invitation to participate in this new phase of assessing how to bring 1 gigabit fiber to more communities. Our collaboration will complement the open market approach our City Council has directed us to pursue to bring fiber to the premise in Palo Alto. Google’s invitation will advance our ability to achieve this goal.”   

    “Communities with abundant high-speed Internet grow stronger because there’s greater potential to create jobs, drive economic growth, and help students and families get access to essential resources” said Kevin Lo, General Manager for Google Fiber. “We look forward to working with Palo Alto in the coming months to see if we can build the next chapter of the Internet together, on gigabit speeds.”    

    Palo Alto Online is saying…“The Mountain View-based Internet search giant has invited 34 cities to work with Google on setting up citywide fiber-optics systems of the very sort that local officials have been coveting for the past two decades. The 34 cities are scattered all over the country and include Portland, Ore.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Atlanta, Ga. "While we'd love to bring Fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone," Google's announcement stated. "Cities who have worked with us through this process, however, will have taken a big step forward in making their community ready for construction by any provider."   

    February 18, 2014. Palo Alto City Manager James Keene names nine to FTTP/Wireless Citizen Advisory Committee. The email read: Congratulations! The City is pleased to confirm your participation in the Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP)/Wireless Citizen Advisory Committee. We anticipate scheduling the first meeting of the committee very soon. Thank you in advance for participating in the important work that will be performed by this committee. FTTP Committee members are Richard Brand, Leona Cook, David Creemer, Bob Harrington, Brad Horak, Andrew Kau, Donald (Donn) Lee, Christine Moe, and Andy Poggio.

    October 28, 2013. Palo Alto moves ahead with citywide fiber plan, Palo Alto Online is reporting. City Council voted to “commission a master plan for expanding the city's 41-mile ‘dark fiber’ ring to all parts of Palo Alto, giving residents and businesses Internet speed of more than 100 megabits per second. The council also directed staff to pursue a complementary master plan for a citywide wireless system that would improve public-safety communications, create new smart-grid applications and provide the public with WiFi Internet access.” These plans will be paid for from a $15.3 million reserve fund built up by user fees from commercial customers of the fiber network, according to City Staff Report 4203 from City Manager Jim Keene.

    May 14, 2013.  The new Council Technology and the Connected Community committee began its exploration of FTTP possibilities with renewed optimism. The new committee unanimously authorized City Manager Jim Keene to appoint a group of citizen advisers. The general sentiment among committee members was that this time, things would be different. "There's been dramatic changes that potentially, pending more analysis and study, make it more feasible today than it was three, four or five years ago," Utilities Advisory Commissioner Asher Waldfogel said.

    April 3, 2013. The five-year financial forecast for the fiber utility indicates a Fiber Fund growing to $28 million by 2018. This reserve is coming from fiber user fees and is earmarked for fiber-related investments in Palo Alto infrastructure. Utilities Advisory Commission members discussed next steps (see Attachment A), among them working with the new Council fiber committee and the Council Finance Committee which has fiber as an action item on its April 16 agenda.   

    The four city council members on the newly formed fiber committee are Mayor Greg Scharff, Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd, Councilmember Larry Kline and Councilmember Liz Kniss, who chairs the committee.

    March 18, 2013.  “Palo Alto reboots its dream of a fiber network, Palo Alto Online is reporting. Much has changed during the 15 years Palo Alto has operated its successful dark fiber network, including the $15 million now banked in a Fiber Fund earmarked for Palo Alto fiber-related investments, a Fund that is currently growing about $2 million per year.

    Council is now asking the Utilities Advisory Commission and city staff to take a fresh look from a broader perspective. “Councilman Pat Burt …said the project should be seen as more than just a utility. ‘Fiber to the premise,’ he said, ‘is also a community service and an economic-development initiative. It could also carry a secondary community benefit of creating free citywide WiFi. He said it's time for the project to return to the utilities commission.’”

    February 27, 2013.  “Fiber is the key to assuring Palo Alto's long-term position as the Leading Digital City of the Future," Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff said during his State of the City address at the headquarters for Tesla Motors.

    “A long-term goal would be to provide free high speed Wi-Fi to all our City parks and other areas in our city.

    “A Leading Digital City of the Future is a connected city, one that provides services that enable its citizens to get online quickly and efficiently such as fast municipal Wi-Fi and Fiber to the Premises (FTTP). Connectivity is the future and the future for Palo Alto, fiber should be now.  

    “Two Palo Alto priorities for 2013 are infrastructure and technology. The one area where we can merge these priorities in a game-changing manner is bringing high speed Internet to our homes and businesses.

    “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.

    “Clearly, the Internet has changed our lives and our community. It has become integral to our very existence and radically altered the way we communicate, learn, conduct business, socialize, shop, and entertain ourselves. 

    “Since 1996 Google, Yahoo, VMware, Palantir, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, eBay, Amazon, Skype, and Twitter were founded or went public.  Internet users grew in number to over 2 billion worldwide.  Our computers are 1000 times faster than those in 1996. 

    “Yet sadly, the technology and infrastructure medium by which our homes and businesses connect to the Internet, electrons over copper wire, hasn’t changed. It is still slow and expensive.

    “For the last several years, our city leaders and City staff have discussed bringing ultra high speed Internet to our homes and businesses. Over the years, several plans were developed but not implemented for a variety of reasons. Ultra high speed Internet has been a Palo Alto vision for a very, very long time. Now is the time to fulfill that vision.

    “Google has recently deployed high speed Internet in Kansas City. Palo Alto can do better and has all the elements to make this a success.

    “In 2013, I believe that Palo Alto needs to develop and initiate a plan to cost-effectively bring Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), which is light over optical fiber, to businesses and homes in our city, offering at least 1-gigabit Internet connection speeds in both directions. Furthermore, fiber’s enormous bandwidth compared to copper or wireless media makes it a comparatively future-proof infrastructure that will keep Palo Alto at the forefront of technology for connected cities in the world.

    “Fiber to the Premises will satisfy community demand for higher Internet speeds, be cost effective for users, attract startups to Palo Alto, retain existing businesses, and reduce vehicle traffic by increasing telecommuting. It will also provide a backbone for public Wi-Fi infrastructure, improve our emergency preparedness, and position our city firmly in the future.

    “Fiber is the key to assuring Palo Alto’s long-term position as the Leading Digital City of the Future.”

    August 1, 2012.  “I’ve seen America’s Internet future, it’s Kansas City,” iPaloAlto editor Bob Harrington is saying. Google Fiber launched in Kansas City July 26. Reviews from MIT and BusinessInsider spotlight the many strengths and few weaknesses of Google’s new gigabit network with interest sweeping like wildfire through Kansas City. Bottom line: Google Fiber offers America its only real hope to break the bonds of monopolistic cable and telco company practices and pricing.

    June 6, 2012.  Discontinue consideration of FTTP for Palo Alto neighborhoods, staff recommends in their 124-page broadband report to the Utilities Advisory Commission (UAC). By a 4-3 vote, the UAC accepted the staff recommendation while also concurring with the staff recommendations to continue the dark fiber service model and study investing in municipal wireless.  The Palo Alto Unified School District is agreeing to link all 18 of its school sites to Palo Alto Dark Fiber.

    June 1, 2011.  Possible next fiber steps presented by utilities’ staff and two consultants were discussed by the Utilities Advisory Commission. Staff will make next step recommendations to Council in the fall.

    May 17, 2011.  Google Fiber adds Kansas City, MO (population 460,000) to the Kansas City, KS (population 146,000) award.

    But wait, there’s more. Google makes it clear in its press release, “We’ll continue to talk to other cities about the possibility of bringing Google Fiber to their communities.”

    Palo Alto is the place to really put Google Fiber to the test.

    March 30, 2011.  Kansas City, Kansas awarded Google Fiber first. Milo Medin, Vice President, Google Access Services is saying, "…over the coming months, we'll be talking to other interested cities about the possibility of us bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities.”

    March 1, 2011.  Palo Alto makes fresh pitch for Google Fiber, Palo Alto Online reports. City Manager Jim Keene keeps up the Palo Alto drum beat which could prove important to Silicon Valley and America.

    December 15, 2010. Google delays naming Google Fiber city, appoints Milo Medin vice president, access services, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

    December 1, 2010. Report to the Utilities Advisory Commission (UAC) describing how and why ideas are being sought to develop a broadband business plan for Palo Alto. Palo Alto Online story.

    October 21, 2010. Google to build a 1 Gbps fiber test network in the Stanford Campus Residential Leaseholders neighborhood. The Stanford Report; the Stanford Daily story. This Stanford residential neighborhood of 850 faculty and staff homes and condominiums is served by Nixon Elementary School in the Palo Alto Unified School District and is surrounded by the city of Palo Alto. July 18, 2011 Palo Alto Patch update.

    Why Google should choose Palo Alto.

    Logical next steps: Google expands their 1 Gbps fiber test area to include more of Stanford University and the entire Palo Alto community, thus creating a solid foundation for a world class Silicon Valley open fiber network.

    July 13, 2010. Google launches a Fiber for Communities website to serve as a direct link to this game changing Google initiative and related topics. The City of Palo Alto has yet to receive any direct word from Google but today Google donated 350 wireless access points to the Palo Alto Unified School District (a hopeful sign), expanding WiFi coverage to every classroom on every school campus in the district. Students will be able to connect their personal devices to the network.

    June 14, 2010. CMR 265:10 updates Council on high-speed broadband. The City is exploring how to best grow its existing dark fiber network. It has heard nothing from Google so far regarding the City response to the Google RFI.

    March 26, 2010. Google received nominations for Palo Alto from individuals and groups beginning February 10. iPaloAlto was one of the sites where reports and calls to action on the Google initiative occurred. The City of Palo Alto submitted its impressive response just before nominations closed today. How impressive it all was to Google we hope to learn soon. Google says they ‘plan to announce a target community or target communities this year.’ Organizations continue to send letters of support to the City as noted in Support – Groups.

    March 1, 2010. The Palo Alto planned response to Google (CMR 158:10) will emphasize ‘speed and efficiency.’ City appoints community volunteer to head public education and grassroots outreach.

    February 22, 2010. Council unanimously concurred with the staff recommendation (CMR 147:10) to respond to the Google RFI on their Fiber for Communities initiative and to discontinue work on a federal stimulus bid. Moreover, staff was directed to plan and execute a public outreach campaign to get every computer and hand-held device in town, used by businesses and residents alike, to nominate Palo Alto for Google Open Fiber.

    The Google offer of a blazing-fast open fiber network test in selected cities may mean about $50 million of leading edge infrastructure for Palo Alto. A Google Open Fiber partnership with the City capitalizes on Palo Alto’s renowned innovative assets, and there are many – residents, businesses, startups, educators, health care professionals, venture capital, professional services, families with students, and volunteers. Among the expected benefits are lower prices, ultra-fast Internet, reliability, and service choices. This is cleantech / greentech which enhances Palo Alto resource conservation and sustainability values. City risk approaches zero. When you study it closely, as I have, deciding to support Google Open Fiber becomes the biggest no-brainer in history.

    From now to March 26, click the Google ‘Nominate your community’ button, this is civic engagement at its finest. A Google account is needed (see sample PDF form for help)On the nomination form ‘Get involved: Residents and community groups,’ fill in the *required blanks (for help and suggestions, see sample form – for residents/individuals or for community groups).

    Palo Alto excited about Google Open fiber: City of Palo Alto press release, Palo Alto Online and Mercury News stories. Palo Alto Online - OpEd: How you can help Palo Alto win Google Open Fiber- Story: Palo Alto to woo Google for fiber network - Letter: Nominate Palo Alto - Palo Alto Weekly: We nominate Palo Alto to Google

    February 10, 2010. The Google Game Changer: Fiber for Communities. Google to offer fast broadband as a trial, the New York Times says. Google Jolts Telecom Rivals, the Wall Street Journal headlined, as Google announces its plan to build and test open-access ultra high-speed broadband networks in a select number of communities. Apply by March 26 (Seattle will); selectees announced later this year. The Google proposal fits Palo Alto FTTP plans to a ‘T.’ Tell Google, nominate Palo Alto.

    “Silicon Valley at risk”, Palo Alto Online reports, “valley losing federal ‘mega-investments’ race.” The news creates a renewed sense of urgency for Palo Alto to provide infrastructure leadership with Google help.

    February 1, 2010. With a unanimous 9-0 vote, Council authorized an additional $50,000 for consultant help to prepare an NTIA broadband grant request due March 15, and to complete a business plan later. Staff agreed to return to Council with the grant request plan, which may provide a framework for the broadband business plan, for discussion and direction. Earlier, utility staff provided a broadband update (CMR 119:10). CMR 130:10 requested Council authorization to extend a consultant contract.

    January 29, 2010. Palo Alto electric-car maker plans IPO, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Just weeks earlier, Tesla received a $465 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. Tesla’s IPO brings with it great challenges, SFGate says.

    December 19, 2009. “Facebook significantly expands its Palo Alto footprint in the Stanford Research Park by signing a lease for another 265,000 square feet,” the San Jose Business Journal reported. “The buildings at 1050 Page Mill Road had been vacated by the medical diagnostic firm Beckman Coulter Inc. several years ago.”

    “This marks the second move in a year for the social media company, which left downtown Palo Alto (in May 2009) for a 150,000 square foot building (1601 California Avenue) once owned by Agilent Technologies.” (See August 18, 2008 Breaking News)

    Parking woes may be reduced,” Palo Alto Online says, while the Daily News headlines “Facebook’s status: Getting a new office.” Meanwhile, with 400 million members, page views are growing as the new Facebook Connect enjoys success, and Facebook is now selling its own display ads.

    November 30, 2009. Palo Alto recommends NTIA broadband grants be made to municipalities in high tech corridors like Silicon Valley. With a grant in the $10 million range, the City's existing fiber ring could be extended to connect more than 20 key anchor institutions in the City including public and private primary and secondary schools, several medical facilities, the JPA's media center, and City emergency and first-responder locations. Each of these locations would receive, at a minimum, 200 Mbps symmetric capacity. With a $45 million grant, Palo Alto would construct a FTTP network to 100% of the businesses and residences in town.

    November 4, 2009. iPaloAlto endorsed all five winning City Council candidates who take office in January…Larry Klein, Karen Holman, Gail Price, Nancy Shepherd and Greg Scharff. Each took the time to familiarize themselves with iPaloAlto Broadband Facts and indicated that they SUPPORTED or STRONGLY SUPPORTED the envisioned open-access Fiber to the Premises network for Palo Alto.

    August 18, 2009. Tesla Motors is moving its headquarters to 3500 Deer Creek Road, in Palo Alto’s Stanford Research Park. The 350,000 square foot 3-building Tesla complex will house 350 employees at first in buildings that have in the past been occupied by Hewlett-Packard and Agilent. "Silicon Valley and the Stanford Research Park are synonymous with innovation and entrepreneurship," Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk said in a press release. City Manager James Keene told the Palo Alto Weekly the city is "extremely pleased to welcome Tesla in Palo Alto" and noted that the city is committed to promoting sustainability and green technology. "Tesla's move is another indicator that Palo Alto is the place to be for the green tech and alternative energy companies that will help solve the daunting global environmental challenges of the 21st century," Keene said.

    July 13, 2009. Council Broadband Study Session (CMR 307:09). Staff updated Council on the progress being made with the broadband grant request (‘Federal funds unlikely,’ Palo Alto Online headlined) and sounded out Council regarding a wireless component to an open citywide FTTP network. Council seemed cool to the staff idea of building 90 dark fiber nodes into residential neighborhoods. Invest Fiber Fund reserves, Advisors suggested, by building and lighting fiber in the commercial areas of Palo Alto to generate more revenue and thus speed the time when open citywide FTTP could become a reality. Overlaying the entire city with public safety service wireless for police, fire, and emergency response and/or 802.11 WiFi for public use should only be considered if wireless construction and on-going support is funded by grants and/or user fees. A Business Plan was promised by staff in September; Council suggested local experts be solicited to help with the Plan.

    April 13, 2009. Council moving ahead with Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) on multiple fronts, Councilmember Klein four-part motion concurring with some staff recommendations in CMR 143:09, Palo Alto Online and The Daily News report. Palo Alto submits comments for broadband stimulus funds to NTIA; the State of California does the same.

    March 14, 2009. Axia withdraws from FTTP negotiations, the Palo Alto Daily and Palo Alto Online report. Alternatives will be explored by Council at its April 13 meeting.

    February 25, 2009. Palo Alto hopes for fiber network darken, Palo Alto Online reports. The Council Study Session on FTTP provided an overview of City staff negotiations with consortium member Axia NetMedia. They remain apart on financial terms. A possible tax might fund the project, the Mercury reports.

    January 15, 2009. Economic crisis stalls Palo Alto fiber project, Palo Alto Online is headlining. Negotiations are ongoing with consortium members, but the pieces still are not fitting within the tight financial requirements laid down by the City. City Manager Jim Keene reports.

    On a parallel track, the City is seeking federal stimulus funds for the high priority FTTP project and is beginning to gather a list of project supporters.

    December 18, 2008. The Free Press Action Fund released two white papers suggesting action steps to the Obama administration which could be a road map to funding help for FiberPaloAlto™. The white papers: Down Payment on Our Digital Future; 2009 Media & Tech Priorities

    October 24, 2008. Palo Alto fiber-optic project right kind of economic development, the Mercury News says. “Council instructed staff to try to reach an agreement (on Letter of Intent with consortium members), negotiations are still in progress.”

    August 18, 2008. Facebook is moving to Stanford Research Park, 1601 California Avenue, early next year. Downtown Palo Alto “is part of the DNA at Facebook.”

    August 4, 2008. Council authorized budget to prepare Letter of Intent and final Palo Alto Fiber to the Premise Agreement. See Events.

    July 14, 2008. Council fast-tracks fiber on a unanimous vote; staff directed to expedite negotiations with Axia which results in a detailed Letter of Intent for construction and operation of a citywide open-access fiber to the promise network by September 2008. “Council approves ultra-high-speed broadband plan,” the Daily says. Click here for more FTTP press coverage.

    July 7. 2008. Citywide fiber plan wins fans with no-cash plan, Palo Alto Online headlined. Axia's willingness to sink at least $30 million into building the necessary infrastructure "makes this a real possibility for Palo Alto," Councilmember Kishimoto is saying. Mayoral advisors Bern Beecham, Andy Poggio, and Bob Harrington led Council FTTP Study Session; their presentation.

    July 3, 2008. CMR 304:08 accompanied by the Consortium Overview was publicly released today in preparation for Council meeting discussions on Palo Alto Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) July 7 and 14 (Events tab has details). The big news is that an experienced fiber network management company, Axia NetMedia Corporation, is willing to make the investment necessary to build, own and operate the Palo Alto citywide open fiber network, subject to negotiating acceptable agreements with the City (Proposal section has details). “The City dark fiber network may provide the key that unlocks the Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) treasure chest the community has sought for over a decade,” said Palo Alto resident Bob Harrington, one of three Mayor-appointed citizens advising on the project. The Consortium recommends negotiations begin promptly; staff seeks direction from Council for next steps.

    June 25, 2008. There may be light at the end of the fiber, the Palo Alto Weekly editorial is saying. Fiber Internet finally making headway at City Council, a companion story is saying.

    May 5, 2008. Former City Councilman Bern Beecham appointed Advisor to the Mayor – Broadband by Mayor Larry Klein, joining two earlier appointees Andy Poggio and Bob Harrington.

    March 19, 2008. Hewlett-Packard considered moving world headquarters out of Palo Alto. Its 2,500 employees are staying for now, but Company leadership doesn’t feel Palo Alto has gone out of its way to make it feel welcome. Longer term, overseas threats may outweigh history and tradition going back to its 1938 founding in the HP Garage, as countries pour millions into building up electronic-communications infrastructure, in producing highly educated engineers, and in cultivating corporate executives, an HP official tells the Palo Alto Weekly.

    March 11, 2008. DreamWorks’ Katzenberg sees ‘new era’ with 3-D, which will only be available in specially equipped digital theaters and homes with FTTH bandwidth. “It is nothing less than the greatest innovation that has happened for all of us in the movie business since the advent of color 70 years ago,” Katzenberg said.

    Consumers getting cozy with fiber to the home, a Corning executive tells EE Times, but not the AT&T U-verse offering featuring fiber to the neighborhood (FTTN) with inferior video. Palo Alto staff (CMR 324:07) is calling for AT&T to abide by the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 by providing equal access and equal video quality to community, government, and educational video channels; so far, AT&T has not responded favorably.

    January 17, 2008. The California Broadband Task Force Report makes the same points that iPaloAlto and the community it represents have advocated for the past decade…our state, our region, our city must greatly improve our broadband networks to remain vital and competitive in the twenty-first century.

    January 12, 2008. Can the Internet save the planet? InformationWeek asks.The American Consumer Institute answers: Widespread adoption of broadband in the United States alone would cut energy use by the equivalent of 11% of annual oil imports. Overall, the Internet economy could help reduce growth in greenhouse gas output by 67% over the next several years.

    December 17, 2007. Staff updates Council on preparation of the Ultra-High-Speed Broadband Plan. During the final phase of preparation, staff anticipates returning to Council to obtain direction on the level and type of contribution the City is willing to make to the project. This should occur during the second quarter of 2008.

    November 25, 2007. Globalization is strengthening our Silicon Valley economy, and broadband is at the heart of it, the San Jose Mercury says. Yet, concern is growing as the US slips to 15th in broadband connections: US in the broadband slow lane.

    August 29, 2007. “Americans invented the Internet, but the Japanese are running away with it.” The Washington Post reports on growing innovation in Japan, South Korea, and much of Europe because of their tremendous speed and cost-of-service advantages over the United States in Internet communications. While U.S. phone and cable companies, which control about 98% of the country’s broadband market, oppose virtually every proposal that is not a subsidy for them, the U.S. slips further behind in broadband innovation. Palo Alto and Silicon Valley can ill-afford to sit idly by and permit this to happen.

    August 7, 2007. PacketFront acquires DynamicCity. PacketFront, one of the consortium members working cooperatively with Palo Alto staff to develop a business plan for the proposed open-access community fiber network, acquired DynamicCity and merged their operations into the US subsidiary of PacketFront, headquartered in Denver, Colorado. DynamicCity has a long-term agreement to manage the UTOPIA network, the largest open community fiber network in America.

    July 12, 2007. Google is back. Google has just leased the 212,000 sq ft former Agilent headquarters building at 395 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto. The building is capable of accommodating about 850 employees. Google, which started in a Stanford dorm room and moved to a Menlo Park garage, first opened a Palo Alto office with eight employees on University Avenue in February 1999. The company quickly outgrew that space and, later that summer, moved to their current Mountain View headquarters campus. As of June 30, 2007, Google employed 13,778 worldwide and is now adding more than 500 new employees each month. Ed. Note: In early 2008 Google changed its mind by deciding to concentrate all employees in or near the Googleplex in Mountain View; the 395 Page Mill Road property was made available for sub-lease.

    July 12, 2007. Fiber to the Home drives Telework, home businesses. Thirteen percent of employees work an equivalent of 7 days a month from home; others work from home full time, RVA Market Research says.

    July 9, 2007. Preparation of an Open-access Ultra-High-Speed Broadband Business Plan was authorized by the Palo Alto City Council, at its meeting tonight. By a 5-1 vote, Councilmembers directed that plan preparation be a cooperative effort among City staff, advisors, and consortium members.

    “World class support from Palo Alto’s world class institutions” is needed during this process, staff advisor Bob Harrington said in a memo introducing a summary of the last staff-consortium meeting June 28 prepared by Tim Scott of PacketFront.

    June 26, 2007. U.S. Web speeds in the slow lane, California even slower, a San Jose Mercury article says. With the major communications providers to Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area, Comcast and AT&T, both planning to upgrade their closed networks only to hybrid fiber, the Bay Area may be shackled to slow speed for decades.

    June 18, 2007. The Next Step. Preparation of a Business Plan for the proposed citywide open-access Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network is likely to be approved by Palo Alto City Council during their regular July 9, 2007 meeting. Thanks to all who sent emails of FTTH support to Council; your ongoing support is critical to best assure a good outcome for Palo Alto.

    May 25, 2007. Norway’s largest power utility picks PacketFront for open-access Fiber To The Home (FTTH) network in and around Oslo. This is considered one of the most important contracts of the year in the Norwegian telecom sector. PacketFront is one of the consortium partners in the open-access FTTH proposal to the City of Palo Alto.

    May 7, 2007. Silicon Valley is Stuck in the Slow Lane of the Information Highway, a San Jose Mercury editorial says. Disgraceful but true, telecom companies are stifling innovation exactly where innovation is the lifeblood of the economy, Silicon Valley. Customers deserve better; it’s time to work toward a better solution.

    April 9, 2007. Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto appointed two members from the public, Bob Harrington and Andy Poggio, to serve as advisors to the Mayor as staff follows up on the Broadband proposal.

    March 5, 2007.  In response to CMR 156:07, the Palo Alto City Council directed staff to negotiate an agreement for a citywide open municipal fiber network exclusively with the 180 Connect consortium.

    February 22, 2007.  iPaloAlto is reporting that City staff today released the two broadband proposals, one from DynamicCity and the other from 180 Connect, received by the City of Palo Alto January 9th, together with City Manager’s Report (CMR) 156:07. The broadband topic will be on the Monday, March 5 City Council agenda for discussion.

    January 10, 2007.  Palo Alto received two broadband proposals by yesterday's 3 PM Broadband RFP deadline. 

    Background Information: This second major community effort to get an open fiber optic network working for Palo Alto began with a July 27, 2005 Colleagues’ Memo from Councilmembers Kishimoto and Beecham acknowledging the tremendous success of the four-year Community Center FTTH Trial. Responding to an October 24, 2005 CMR 398:05, and later CMR 111:06, the City developed a wish-list and some preferred guidelines with Council discussion of a January 17, 2006 motion. The motion passed 5-1 and formed part of the Broadband Request for Proposal (RFP) issued September 27, 2006.

    Based on the wish list, FiberPaloAlto™ would prefer to employ an open fiber optic network strategy, since the economies of scale make an open fiber network and every service offered on it, very competitive – high reliability and security, faster and higher quality services, each at lower prices. A visit to the MSTAR site, a triple play service provider (telephone, video, and data) on both the iProvo and UTOPIA open fiber networks in Utah, will provide a pretty close approximation of the types of offerings FiberPaloAlto™ is expected to provide early in its existence.

    FiberPaloAlto™ will unleash innovation, as Mark Heyer’s Community Benefits white paper outlined years ago. Palo Alto citizens are known for their intelligence and creativity. It will keep us competitive with other communities around the globe where open fiber networks are already the norm. It will help us maintain our leadership position in Silicon Valley, the most innovative region on the planet. And we keep more of our money home.

    FiberPaloAlto™ is an investment that will be made by private business, yet the City earns an option to purchase the entire network and its ongoing business years from now for $1 by granting “rights to use” specific City dark fiber assets now. What a tremendous community asset both now and in the future. Just as the rest of our community-owned utilities have proven to be excellent investments for over 100 years, FiberPaloAlto™ will be the same. It will enhance libraries public safety, medical care; get traffic off our streets, on to fiber.

    Best of all, FiberPaloAlto™ is a community builder; see for your_self by exploring this Västerås, Sweden site, become inspired. Palo Alto will have the opportunity to own FiberPaloAlto™ somewhere down the line. We can strengthen our own community, neighborhood by neighborhood – by taking two easy steps:

      1. City Council action steps you may encourage:

      2. Insist on superior services with more competition which lower prices for:

    Contact us for more information. Come back often to visit as the FiberPaloAlto™ story unfolds.

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