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Proposal: Citywide Palo Alto Open-access Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) Active Ethernet Network

A Consortium of experienced companies selected by the City to develop an acceptable ultra-high-speed broadband plan recommended a citywide open-access Palo Alto Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) active Ethernet network capable of providing residential customers, for starters, a minimum symmetrical bandwidth of 100 Mbps; business customers, up to 1 Gbps. Everyone seemed pleased with this plan, so iPaloAlto will continue to publish it here for future reference.

The tipping point: Axia NetMedia, the proposed investor in the network, requested a ‘City commitment’ to subscribe to $3.4 million in network services annually to which the City was unwilling to commit. As negotiations continued, it appeared the investor would accept other network use commitments from commercial and residential customers in lieu of a City commitment, but the investor did not wish to be saddled with the full responsibility for gathering substitute commitments.

On March 14, 2009, Axia withdrew from negotiations with the City.

The FTTP proposal minimized risks to the City. Axia indicated willingness to provide all the capital needed to build the the Palo Alto FTTP network and to become the network operator on a wholesale basis, subject to definitive agreements with the City.

Every item on the Palo Alto Broadband Wish List seemed achieved, and more. For its part, the City may issue “rights of use” covering specific dark fiber assets. The City will retain ownership of its assets and will have the right to recover use of them should certain dire circumstances occur during the life of the agreement. In the end, the City will have the right to acquire the entire Palo Alto FTTP network for $1.

The Palo Alto Broadband Wish List:

“Symmetric” means the same speed up and down. The other guys only advertise their down speeds while they bury in fine print the up speeds which they choke off to 1/10 or less of their down speeds. It is hard to communicate or innovate when you have one hand tied behind your back.


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