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Request for the council to look into Municipal High-Speed Fiber Internet

From: domainremoved <Jocelyn>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 13:28:11 -0800

Hello Menlo Park City Council,

As I was driving to work a few days ago, listening to NPR, a guest talked
about super high-speed internet and how in the United States, we're falling
behind the curve, very few people have access to it. Because major
corporations like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon have built networks for
high-speed internet, but haven't had any reason to improve those networks,
there is very little competition in the cable/fiber internet business, and
no reason to improve their infrastructure. Why spend the money when their
consumers have no other options? Other countries (and some cities in the
USA) have built municipal fiber internet networks that are much faster and
cheaper for their citizens. And the thing that made me worry for Silicon
Valley as a whole: "Crawford says that American Internet service is falling
behind other nations because cable companies have such dominance in many
markets, and that will undermine our ability to compete in a global
economy. She warns: "Unless somebody in the system has industrial policy in
mind, a long-term picture of where the United States needs to be and has
the political power to act on it, we'll be a Third World country when it
comes to communications."" - NPR Story

Where would Menlo Park be if all the businesses that depend on the internet
pick up and move? It's not out of the realm of possibility.

This is a good point to say that I have Comcast home internet, and I find
it horribly slow.

I'm also a professional law librarian, and until recently, I worked for a
firm that specialized in public-private infrastructure (I don't work there
anymore, I'm with the State of CA now, so there's no conflict of interest).
 I know these kinds of things are slow and time-consuming to set up, but
they are possible.

If the city issued a bond to build high-speed wired internet service, and
then either leased the network to competitive companies (as they do in
Switzerland) or simply ran it itself like a municipal power corporation, it
would have those bonds paid off very fast, even if they charged a fraction
of what Comcast does. The faster service would help retain the tech giants
that "live" here.

Please investigate the possibility of a municipal fiber internet in Menlo
Park (possibly in conjunction with other cities on the Peninsula).

Here are some additional articles on the subject:

   - From The Atlantic<http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2013/03/why-are-there-no-big-cities-municipal-broadband-networks/4857/>
   - From Wired<http://gigabitsquared.com/wired-why-is-google-fiber-the-countrys-only-super-speed-internet/>,
   discussing why major cities in the US aren't doing this yet (though Chicago
   is making a move in this direction).
   - NPR Interviewee's
   includes a link to her book which examines this issue on an international

I'll be happy to help or volunteer in any way. I was planning to volunteer
for your library board when my husband and I move into our property in
Menlo Park, later this year. My contact information is below if I can help
before then.

Thank you,

Jocelyn Stilwell-Tong
408-494-2529 (work number)
Received on Thu Feb 13 2014 - 13:28:14 PST

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