Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2012

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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Lighting San Leandro network for world-class connectivity. S an Leandro, Calif., is a city in search of a new future. Situated across the bay from San Francisco and north of Silicon Valley, San Leandro was once a manufacturing center. To- day, much of the manufacturing is gone, and the city never attracted the kind of tech companies that cluster near Stan- ford University. On the other hand, it still has many advantages – a convenient location, good transportation, civic in- frastructure and housing prices that are lower than elsewhere in the region. One successful software company that did locate in San Leandro is OSI- soft, whose business intelligence system is used by enterprises worldwide to mon- itor and analyze industrial operations in real time. As OSIsoft grew, however, its communications needs began to out- pace the available infrastructure, and it saw no prospect of being able to meet its future needs. Te area's incumbent providers, which focus on residential services, had no plans to upgrade their commercial infrastructures or even to lease dark fiber to businesses. OSIsoft's owner, Patrick Kennedy, knew that other businesses in San Le- andro – or businesses interested in mov- ing to San Leandro – would need robust communications infrastructure. He also knew the city had installed conduit, along with some home-run fiber, for such municipal applications as intelli- gent traffic systems. Kennedy suggested, over several years, that the city leverage its conduit system for broadband, but the city did not have the financial capa- bility to build out a fiber network. However, the mayor was willing to help Kennedy build fiber to businesses – and Kennedy was happy, he says, "to do something for the city I built my com- By Masha Zager ■ Broadband Communities A visionary businessman is collaborating with local officials on a fiber The ingredients were all there: San Leandro had underused conduits, the BART system had dark fiber and the owner of a locally based software company had technical expertise and capital. pany in." So the Lit San Leandro project was born. A COMPLEX PARTNERSHIP Te project involves a complex partner- ship of public and private entities. Ken- nedy founded and financed two new pri- vate companies, San Leandro Dark Fiber and Lit San Leandro, to install the pas- sive and active infrastructure respectively. San Leandro Dark Fiber contracted to install a fiber ring through the city's con- duits, paying for its use of the conduits by dedicating fibers for the city's use. A number of businesses are close enough to this proposed fiber ring to connect to it at a reasonable cost. Te city govern- ment is applying for grants to build lat- eral conduits from the ring to more of its own facilities; these new laterals will pass additional businesses, potentially allow- ing them to connect to the network, too. Still more locations could be connected if existing conduits in poor condition were replaced; Kennedy says he is contemplat- ing making these replacements. In addition, the fiber network may grow over time because of the city's in- About the Author Masha Zager is the editor of BROADBAND COMMUNITIES. You can reach her at masha 70 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MAY/JUNE 2012 formal policy of installing broadband conduit whenever possible – during street construction and other public works projects and when utility lines are moved underground. Te city is also considering adopting a formal open- trench policy under which telecom pro- viders would be notified in advance of any street cut. Kennedy is amenable to extending the network to serve major new develop- ments, such as the conference center be- ing planned at a local marina. "My ten- dency is to put in conduit if I see a big development going in," he says. "I don't see any reason not to run conduit there and wait." He is also in discussions with a nearby town that wants to complete its loop by using some of San Leandro Dark Fiber's fibers. Te arrangement would save money for the other town and increase San Leandro's loop diver- sity – and hence network reliability. Kennedy's second company, Lit San Leandro, is responsible for buying equipment to light the fiber and pre- paring the network for service. It also recruited a competitive local exchange

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