gmhTODAY 17 gmhToday Nov Dec 2017 - Page 20

Fiber Wanted! While fi ber optic cable is considered the best infrastructure technology for present and future broadband communications needs, at a million dollars per mile, it’s not cheap. “It’s the best option,” Wood said, “but it’s not advantageous for carriers to run fi ber into less densely populated areas. Some providers use cable modem but don’t reach everyone. Others use digital subscriber line (DSL) technology or satellites, but don’t provide enough speed and bandwidth for the cost. With wireless, it’s a line of sight issue. If you can’t see the source, you can’t connect wirelessly.” While each solution has its pros and cons, today’s businesses simply can’t operate without fast and reliable broad- band service. Local offi cials are keenly aware that communications infrastructure is a key factor in attracting new business to South County. According to Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate, “Telecom is a strategic priority in the City’s economic development initiatives. If we don’t have the bandwidth companies need to support their online operations, they won’t come, or if they’re here already, they won’t be able to expand. We want to partner with every- one—South Valley Internet, Bullet, Frontier, Charter and others—to explore ways to provide fast, reliable access and wireless connectivity for residents and businesses.” Golden State Assembly (GSA) is fairly new to Morgan Hill’s business community. GSA moved into a vacant manufacturing facility and needed to get fi ber to the building in short order to serve clients such as Tesla Motors. According to Wood, AT&T, the incumbent provider, wasn’t getting the job done. “GSA asked us to gear up their facility with high-speed internet access in preparation for a site visit by Tesla,” Wood said. “We got it done in a matter of days for a fraction of the cost.” Currently, Bullet Wireless is putting in a tower on Recology’s property, providing the company free Internet in exchange for good lease terms. In a similar arrange- ment with a local cattle ranch, Bullet will provide free internet service and secu- rity cameras at the gates to the ranch in exchange for the opportunity to install a tower there. 20 The LAST Mile Bob Brentnall fl ew Boeing 747s as a pilot with Northwest Airlines. He hated having to place a long-distance call in order to dial into the World Wide Web. Bob and his brother Roy, an IBM employee, went in search of a solution and ended up founding a company, South Valley Internet (SVI), in 1994. Most people know SVI by its popular URL, garlic.com. Bob’s daughter Elise took the reins as SVI’s President and COO in 2002. She is passionate about the San Martin-based company’s role in advancing South County’s communications infrastructure and services. “This is such an incredible region and it’s poised for growth but that won’t happen unless we invest in our infrastructure now. Historically, Frontier dominated Morgan Hill and Gilroy, while AT&T dominated San Martin and areas to the north and south of our region. We’ve developed like islands.” Mark Peebles is a San Martin resident eager to see his community get the infrastructure needed to bring it in line with the rest of South County. “When I moved here a year ago I was surprised at the lack of wireless internet access. SVI has been trying to get fi ber to San Martin for some time and had to deal with a lot of red tape. I’m encouraged by their work and local efforts of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance and the new chamber of commerce to bring people together and make our voices heard.” Brentnall explained that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was supposed to open the market to competitiveness with the end goal of building that “last mile” of infrastructure to reach the homes and businesses in unserved and underserved areas, and “it’s time that goal was met.” “The law required incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) to provide competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) like SVI with access to their existing infrastructure. But the law is focused on copper and not fi ber, so the ILECs still have the infrastructure advantage. We need to lay more fi ber and extend it to the entire community.” SVI provides a variety of DSL and wireless broadband services that can be custom-tailored to the needs of its residential and commercial customers. In June 2017, SVI won a $1.2 million grant from the state to build a Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) network from its San Martin facility to Paradise Valley area homes and businesses. “We’ll be able to offer broadband fi ber solutions providing up to 1 gigabit-per-second synchronous service that will meet and exceed market demand for the next thirty-plus years.” It’s that level of performance that will be needed to support telehealth, video gaming, UltraHD TV, distance learning, and virtual reality applications. Brentnall said that SVI wants to help South County move forward but added that residents must continue to advocate with city, county and state representatives to get their needs met. “We’re still in the beginning stages of public-private partnerships. We need to put enough conduit in the ground now to meet future demand. We also need accurate coverage maps, including fi ber coverage. Establishing a fi ber ring around our region is a worthwhile goal.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN NOVEMBE