Plans afoot for 35-city Bay Area wireless network

SAN CARLOS — A consortium of cities including most of Silicon Valley and parts of the East Bay is moving forward with plans for what is expected to be one of the world’s largest continuous wireless Internet networks.

Service to more than 35 cities and counties from Daly City to Santa Cruz to Newark is scheduled to be put out to bid by the Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network in conjunction with the San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority, or SAMCAT, today.

“I think this is a pretty big milestone,” said Brian Moura, assistant city manager for San Carlos and chairman of SAMCAT. Officials expect the interest from bidding companies — including the likes of Google, Yahoo!, Comcast, Earthlink and America Online — could be fierce.

“It’s certainly one of the top five largest WiFi networks,” Moura said, citing other large networks in Rhode Island and Taiwan.

“I’d like to have access outside, at a bar or in my car,” said Mike, who had stopped off at Starbucks in Millbrae to check his e-mail by tapping into the café’s service.

As a traveling pharmaceutical salesman, he regularly uses wireless Internet service to keep up on the news and stay in contact with clients, said Mike, who declined to give his last name.

The 80-page proposal lays out a five-tiered system ranging from free basic services at a slower speed, a faster, fee-based outdoor service to indoor access for the public, officials said.

Government employees such as building inspectors and police are also interested in accessing the network though secure portals, officials said.

“So what we’re saying to the vendors [in the bid proposal] is that in the perfect world, they will offer all of these,” Moura said. “But it is more likely that each vendor will offer parts of that and the bid will be the measure stick for who can deliver the best service.”

ecarpenter@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City has struggled to conduct outreach in some neighborhoods as it works to expand Slow Streets — such as this section of Page Street in the Lower Haight — to underserved neighborhoods. <ins>(Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SFMTA delays vote on Bayview Slow Streets, approves five others in ‘underserved’ areas

SFMTA struggles to conduct outreach in neighborhoods with lower internet access

Stern Grove Festival organizers are planning to bring back the popular summer concert series — The Isley Brothers show in 2019 is pictured — with limited audience capacity. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Indoor shows won’t be flooding SF stages soon but Stern Grove might be back in June

While San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that live performances may resume… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto  (47) started on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 9, 2021. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants welcome fans back with strong performance by Cueto

By Ethan Kassel Special to S.F. Examiner ORACLE PARK — The first… Continue reading

James Harbor appears in court after he was arrested on charges in the July 4th shooting death of 6-year-old Jace Young on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Murder case heads to trial over killing of 6-year-old Jace Young

Hearing reveals new details in ‘horrific’ Fourth of July shooting

BART passengers may see more frequent service by this fall. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART service increases possible as soon as September

Proposal would double weekday, daytime trains and extend system operating hours

Most Read