FTTP Fiber Leadership. Community-driven political leadership has long favored a citywide open access Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) network. Two decades ago, Palo Alto took the first step in its quest to become an “Open Network City” by planning, then building its own open dark fiber backbone, the critical infrastructure to support a 21st Century local and regional economy.
People. Success always revolves around people. Synergies in Palo Alto may be unique in the world. A world renowned community growing as a valued neighbor to Stanford University, Palo Alto is home to those who seek a quality community with high educational values…innovators, educators, entrepreneurs, engineers, business pros, managers, medical specialists, homemakers, retailers, professionals, professors, venture capitalists, families and students—all of whom, and more, are good candidates to use, and innovate with, a gigabit Google Fiber network.
Community Support. The Google Fiber for Communities initiative in 2010 excited and energized Palo Alto citizens and fans worldwide. With total City support, a broad-based grassroots education program was rolled out to acquaint everyone with the Google Fiber opportunity and to let Google know how welcoming Palo Alto will be. Over 2,500 Facebook fans signed up. Individual Palo Alto nominations went directly to Google, as did the City's response.
Political Will. The Mayor and City Council have developed both a deep understanding of the possibilities of fiber and a clear vision of Palo Alto’s fiber future. Council votes have consistently favored fiber initiatives. Google Fiber would enhance our vision and assure its timely arrival.
Lessons Learned. In 2008 the City worked to develop an open fiber network public/private partnership with a sophisticated private partner prospect. Many legal and political issues were worked through making the City much better prepared to act quickly and effectively with the emerging opportunity potentially offered by Google Fiber for Communities.
City Commitment – Fast and Efficient. Under City Manager leadership leveraging the full portfolio of municipally owned utility assets, procedures are in place to fast-track City processes for a Google fiber project like this. Staff is empowered and resolved to help make joint Google/community goals achievable fast and efficiently.
- Dark Fiber Palo Alto has significant relevant infrastructure in place—41-miles of dark fiber rings Palo Alto with about 220 connections along with a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) trial neighborhood. The City offers an opportunity to ‘fast start’ Palo Alto residences.
- Fiber advocated by the community beginning in 1993, dark fiber network launched in 1997.
- Today over 90 commercial customers with more than 220 connections on the open access dark fiber network.
- Fiber Optic Fund reserve now total about $20 million and is growing about $2.1 million annually.
- FTTH Trial conducted successfully 2001-2005 in Community Center neighborhood. Offers opportunity to ‘fast start’ Palo Alto residences. Some testimonials and comments from Trial participants.
- Palo Alto Internet Exchange (PAIX) hosts over 70 Internet service providers in downtown Palo Alto, and the City has a presence in PAIX to facilitate connections to the Internet. An interchange point for a significant portion of Internet traffic today, for Palo Alto, PAIX is one hop to the world.
- Utilities. City operates all its own utilities (electric, natural gas, water, wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, storm drains, fiber optic, refuse and recycling [outside contractor])
- Municipally owned utilities since 1896, only California municipality that owns all utilities.
- Pole rights, assets, and access everywhere in the city; fast deployment assured.
- The City Utilities Department has the ability and experience to partner in building and operating services that connect residents and businesses to the fiber optic backbone.
- Smart Grid, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), and a myriad of other utility applications to conserve precious resources are being tested.
- Time to Market. City owns all rights-of-way and utility pole attachment agreements. Mentioned above in Utilities, this is such a major advantage in terms of ‘time to market,’ it merits its own bullet point.
- Leadership. Palo Alto is well known internationally, is a municipal leader in Silicon Valley and a leader among municipal utilities nationally.
- AAA Rating. Fiscal responsibility is a hallmark of Palo Alto, and the City has the highest credit rating possible to prove it. Only three other California communities merit a Triple-A rating.
- Emergency Services. Palo Alto is served by high quality Public Safety, Fire and Paramedic services as well as several coordinated emergency service programs. The Citizen Corps Council, neighborhood emergency services, the CERTS program are just some examples of community involvement.
- Industry. Palo Alto is home to many world renowned enterprises, development labs, start-ups, law firms, consultants, and venture capital firms whose assets go home at night. Hewlett-Packard, Varian Medical, VMware, Xerox PARC, EPRI, AOL, Tesla Motors, and Palantir Technologies are just a few high-profile examples. See Palo Alto Economy. Over 150 firms indicated their support for the City response to Google. Chamber of Commerce membership is strong in Palo Alto.
- Location, Location, Location. Stanford University is the nexus for Silicon Valley with neighboring Palo Alto providing municipal leadership and services. The Googleplex is right next door in Mountain View, minutes from Palo Alto City Hall.
- Stanford Campus Residential Leasehold neighborhood...the first Google Fiber community. Google installed a 1Gigabit fiber network "test" during 2011 in this Stanford residential neighborhood located at one corner of campus contiguous to Palo Alto. About 850 Stanford faculty and staff own their homes and condominiums on individual lots leased from Stanford. The city of Palo Alto surrounds this neighborhood which is served by Nixon Elementary School in the Palo Alto Unified School District.(see Educational Excellence)
- Google Employees and Facilities. Many Google employees, their families and friends, live in Palo Alto. Google recently acquired several commercial properties sited on a total of 17 acres. Google continues to acquire young companies headquartered in town. Google employment is growing in Palo Alto.
- Venture Capital. The 20-minute rule. “If a start-up company seeking venture capital is not within a 20-minute drive of the venture firm’s office, it will not be funded,” venture capitalist Craig Johnson says in a New York Times article. In 2014, over 50% of all U.S. VC investments were made in Silicon Valley - from San Francisco to San Jose about $21.4 billion was invested. In the five Silicon Valley cities Google Fiber is considering, nearly $6.9 billion was ventured in 2014. Palo Alto captured 42% of that, or $2.9 billion. To see how each city fared, click here. Palo Alto/Sand Hill Road is ground zero for venture capital in America.
- World Class Health Care. Stanford Hospital and Clinics (supporting Palo Alto’s response to Google), Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital(supporting Palo Alto’s response to Google), the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (Sutter Health) (supporting Palo Alto’s response to Google), Kaiser Permanente and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System will be invited to participate in an open fiber network in ways comfortable, acceptable, and beneficial to all.
- Educational Excellence. Stanford University (supporting Palo Alto’s response to Google) certainly provides a world stage for educational excellence. The City nurtures a long and close relationship with the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) (supporting Palo Alto’s response to Google) which itself enjoys a well-deserved reputation for excellence. Google donated 350 wireless access points to PAUSD in July 2010. In 2014, PAUSD connected all 18 public schools in town to the Dark Fiber Palo Alto network. The Palo Alto campus of Foothill College and several private schools also contribute to the educational fabric of the city.
- Libraries. New libraries under construction present a golden opportunity for ‘Library of the Future’ elements including blazing-fast broadband applications.
- Non-Profits. Philanthropies, charities, service clubs, and non-profits proliferate. The Lucile Packard Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Moore Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, Rotary, Optimists, Kiwanis, Boy Scouts, Gamble Garden, and Canopy to name a few.
- Neighbors. Stanford University, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose…all, and more, could become part of the Google Fiber Silicon Valley network. Pretty exciting stuff.
- Keep Local Traffic Local. Because all intranet traffic (traffic within the network) moves at the maximum ‘speed of Google,’ determined by the telecommunications equipment and lasers which "light" the fiber, this traffic never need go through a gate to the Internet. Service and content providers can offer best services by locating ‘within the Google Fiber Silicon Valley cloud.’
- Palo Alto Fiber-fed WiFi. Nearly everyone today carries a hand-held device, with the number of smart devices growing fast. Yet communicating with that device can be problematic, particularly in an emergency. The explosion of wireless network demand for both cellular calls and data, inadequate cell tower sites and anemic network capabilities are cited as root causes for most carriers delivering less than 5-bar service throughout Palo Alto. A pro-active ‘fiber to the tower program’ and ‘5-bar Palo Alto’ to help cellular and data carriers achieve 5-bar service everywhere in town is being considered. One Palo Alto initiative could be modeled after the new Google WiFi for Mountain View network.
- Economy-size. The Palo Alto resident nighttime population is about 64,400. But wait, there’s more — our daytime population more than doubles to about 140,000, more ‘bang for the buck’ for Google. Palo Alto has about 29,000 total premises, 24,000 residential and 5,000 commercial. Our 26-square mile land area includes nearly 1/3 in parks and open space.
- Testbed. Palo Alto is the ideal test bed for Google Fiber and for many applications to come. Together, we will make it happen.