https://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2021/05/25/palo-alto-moves-toward-citywide-fiber-expansion


Town Square

Palo Alto moves toward citywide fiber expansion

Original post made on May 25, 2021

Palo Alto took a major step Monday toward transforming the city's municipal fiber system into an operation that could deliver high-speed internet access to every home and business in the city.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 25, 2021, 9:41 AM

Comments

Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on May 25, 2021 at 11:02 am

pestocat is a registered user.

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


Posted by Judith Wasserman
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 25, 2021 at 11:06 am

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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.


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

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Thank you, @Judith. Duly noted and corrected.


Posted by Brendan
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 25, 2021 at 12:38 pm

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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...


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2021 at 6:53 am

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

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


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 8:50 am

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"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.


Posted by Scott
a resident of Barron Park
on May 26, 2021 at 9:02 am

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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.


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2021 at 10:12 am

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@Scott:

Great observation, thanks!


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 10:24 am

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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?


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2021 at 11:30 am

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@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.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 11:58 am

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@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.


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm

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@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.


Posted by KOhlson
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2021 at 1:16 pm

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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.


Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 26, 2021 at 8:03 pm

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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?


Posted by Brendan
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 29, 2021 at 2:56 pm

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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...


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2021 at 6:20 pm

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This is very good news, for Netflix


Posted by Jeffrey Lane
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:19 am

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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.


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2021 at 2:14 pm

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@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.




Posted by Luther Payne
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 2, 2021 at 8:35 pm

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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.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:04 pm

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"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.


Posted by Penelope Gerhardt
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:16 pm

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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.


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2021 at 9:34 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

@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!


Posted by Jim Nemo
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 3, 2021 at 8:31 am

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> "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).


Posted by Edward Jones
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 3, 2021 at 1:18 pm

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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.


Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 3, 2021 at 11:36 pm

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@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.


Posted by Cecelia Watson
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 4, 2021 at 9:20 am

Cecelia Watson is a registered user.

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.