|Palo Alto Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa|
Last evening the Council, the governing legislative body of the Santa Clara County community of 58,000 population, voted to directly apply to Google for a high capacity fiber network as part of the firm's announced program to build such systems in selected cities around the nation. The votes in Council are the latest moves in what Palo Alto Online calls the city's multi-year "fruitless and frustrating quest for a citywide high-speed Internet network."
As we reported in April of 2009, the City Council voted at that time to cancel its contract with Axia NetMedia Corporation (TSX: AXX), a Canadian network developer and operator previously hired to build the proposed municipal fiber system with a financing partner. Also in April, just as the federal stimulus program was getting underway, the Council moved to position the city to apply for broadband stimulus project funding.
Following the April vote, the city petitioned both the California congressional delegation and the two agencies managing the federal broadband stimulus effort to seek funding allowances for specialized high capacity networks supporting community anchor institutions in "technology corridors" around the nation. Last night city officials stated they saw the federal funding application route as not holding promise, given the burden a heavily wired community like Palo Alto faces to demonstrate a broadband underserved profile.
Palo Alto, home to Stanford University, is directly adjacent to the City of Mountain View, CA, home to the headquarters of Google itself. Perhaps agreeing with our assessment earlier this month that his city would be a perfect fit for Google's broadband ambitions, Palo Alto's Vice Mayor called out over live cable television access programming last night in hopes the Googleplex was listening.
The San Jose Mercury News reported this morning that Vice Mayor and council member Sid Espinosa said, "If Google is out there listening, if any decision-makers are there and paying attention, we as a city are ready to move quickly to make this a reality."