Back in May, we wrote about Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network and the San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority looking into providing wireless internet connections for all of the Peninsula. Unfortunately, the COW-riffic idea has been put on hold. Originally, Palo Alto and San Carlos were to be the guinea pigs, with the plans to include the rest of Silicon Valley at a later date. The problem? Money. Apparently it would require around $500,000 to build the infrastructure to test the two proposed cities. Only one company, Cisco, is volunteering to step forward and chip in. All others seem to be backing away. The idea of using advertisements as the source of financial support for the network has been dropped. Instead they are now looking to cities to pay for municipal uses, such as 911 response systems, wireless meters, etc. Cities are unwilling to commit to buying these services until they see a test run. But investors won’t pay for the test runs until cities commit. Many smaller communities, such as Milpitas and East Palo Alto, have begun to take it upon themselves to have wireless internet instead of waiting for something on a regional level to actually happen. Perhaps Woodside should do the same!
Another area that Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network is moo-ving forward on however is cell phones. Their goal is to find and fix “dead spots” in service from San Jose to San Mateo. Like the wireless initiative, it won’t be easy. Everyone here in Woodside knows that often neighbors of sites where new cell towers are proposed are not “receptive” to the idea. But according to the Redwood Daily news article, “Joint Venture’s leaders say they’re making progress “one dead zone at a time.” Over time, they hope to allay fears and convince local leaders that a better cell phone infrastructure is important for the region’s economy and security.” And apparently our very own “drop” zone along Sand Hill Road is widely known as even Joint Venture President Russell Hancock has pointed out that “You’ve got an executive who has no problem talking on cell phones in Mongolia, and the next week he’s on Sand Hill Road trying to close a deal and he loses his signal.”
With cell towers now designed to look like barns, trees and other view friendly designs, we hope the Council will be supportive of needed cell towers as well as the wireless internet. COWs should have the same access to the 21st century as our neighbors have.