Atherton Fiber works to establish town-wide connectivity for residents and organizations

by Contributed Content on August 7, 2017

In mid-2014, the Atherton City Council created the Technology Subcommittee led by Council Members Rick DeGolia and Bill Widmer. The make-up of the Committee also includes numerous interested residents and local school representatives.

In late 2014, the Subcommittee released a Request for Information (RFI) to potential local service providers, including Google, AT&T and Comcast. The RFI expressed the Town’s interest in various options to establish town-wide connectivity and provide high-bandwidth services to its residents, organizations, facilities (library, city hall, council chambers) and schools (public and private).

The Town envisioned the creation of a network that used existing and future public infrastructure to deliver service. Potential usage across such a system could include emergency notification, traffic signal management, security management, street light management, information sharing, and other traditional communications, entertainment and internet access.

None of the traditional companies responded. Local resident Mike Farmwald learned of the RFI and responded to the Town’s Technology Committee. After learning more about what the Committee was exploring, Mike created Atherton Fiber.

Atherton Fiber was created as a private “competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC)” so that it could use local utility poles and operate as a telecommunications utility. Atherton Fiber is independent from the Town, and there is no agreement between the Town and Atherton Fiber for the provision of services; however, Atherton Fiber is committed to bringing the Council and IT Subcommittee’s vision to reality.

Atherton Fiber has partnered with PAXIO to engineer, and build the fiber network in Atherton from start to finish. PAXIO has extensive experience in building fiber to the home (FTTH) networks dating back to 2003, and was one of the first companies nationally to bring gigabit to the home in 2006.

Once the fiber network is completed, Atherton Fiber is partnering with OpenFiber to operate the fiber network. OpenFiber specializes in operating open access fiber networks. This means that any service provider or customer can make use of the last mile fiber to provide services to customers, or for their own IT needs. Currently, several prominent local service providers that work with OpenFiber have expressed an interest in providing service to Atherton residents including: Berkeley based, and Unwired Ltd., Santa Clara based PAXIO, and San Francisco based Monkeybrains.

The Atherton Fiber Network puts Atherton on the cutting edge of service delivery options using a state-of-the-art fiber network.

Photo by John Orr/Daily News (2015); used with permission

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