Fiber Optic Master Plan Proceeds In San Leandro

October 11, 2018
san leandro fiber

Credit: City of San Leandro, CA

Bay Area city greenlights broadband expansion, and reinforces resilience efforts with public events to educate and engage residents.

Having just approved a plan to expand broadband, the City of San Leandro, CA, is observing “Resilient San Leandro Week” from October 6-13, with a series of public events to enhance civic engagement of promote the adoption of smart city technology. This follows a recent announcement from the Mayor and City Council, that the city has approved a Fiber Optics Master Plan to guide expansion and increased utilization of the City’s fiber network.

“We are committed to leveraging public and private assets through the use of Smart City technologies to make our community better for everyone here in San Leandro,” noted Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter. She added, “Together with our partners at the National League of Cities and California League of Cities, our City is pushing hard for further infrastructure investment at both the state and national levels, which includes smart city efforts such as public Wi-Fi.” The San Francisco Bay Area city, located in Alameda County, between Oakland and Hayward, has a population of nearly 90,000 residents and boasts a thriving advanced manufacturing industry.

The Plan, approved unanimously at a September 17 City Council Meeting, was developed over the last year to improve broadband access in the Bay Area city. The Fiber Optics Master Plan provides a detailed roadmap for future fiber optics expansion routes, building on the partnership with Lit San Leandro to continue expanding broadband service, according to a news release announcing the Plan’s approval. The release noted that the Plan was created with the assistance of Magellan Advisors, a leading broadband and Smart City consulting firm. The study included four community engagement meetings and two online surveys together with input from all city departments, several community groups, and the City Council. The news release and subsequent reports about San Leandro’s Fiber Optic and Smart City initiative credited Tony Batalla, Information Technology Manager, as lead coordinator for the expanded broadband initiative. Notably, San Leandro Councilmember Corina Lopez serves as the Vice Chair on the National League of Cities Information Technology and Communications Committee.

Engaging the public on smart city technology

A series of public events will bring residents and elected officials together in recognition of the City’s efforts to prepare for climate impacts. The City is committed to engaging the San Leandro community to plan for climate adaptation and resilience. In working towards greater civic engagement and community support, the city is hosting an event to highlight the expansion of public Wi-Fi at city parks on October 15, which follows its first ever Climate Action Resilience Forum, scheduled two days before. Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter will be joined by members of the City Council, including Councilmember Corina Lopez, who, as noted, serves as the Vice Chair on the National League of Cities Information Technology and Communications Committee. The City is actively working to ensure the successful and timely rollout of wireless small cell devices and paving the way for 5G in the community in the future.

This event will mark the official unveiling of ultra-fast public Wi-Fi at Marina Park, which will soon be followed by expansion of public Wi-Fi into Joaquin and Washington Plazas downtown, and Halcyon, Floresta, Siempre Verde, Toyon, Stenzel, and Memorial Parks. In September 2018, the City Council approved the Fiber Optics Master Plan, which provides a detailed roadmap for future fiber optics expansion routes.

Toward the goal of working toward becoming a smarter, more resilient city, San Leandro will host its first ever Climate Action Resilience Forum, detailed in a recent news release, on October 13, according to a news release issued by the San Leandro Next initiative. The week will conclude with Resilient San Leandro, the first-ever Climate Resilience Forum, set for October 13, where residents are invited to learn about actions the City is taking and how residents can help to make individual differences in the community.

Partnerships promote fiber optic expansion

Lit San Leandro and San Leandro Dark Fiber LLC comprise the partnership that work with the City of San Leandro to create the Fiber Loop. San Leandro Dark Fiber owns the fiber optic cable that runs through the City’s underground conduit, and Lit San Leandro owns and operates the switch and routing facilities that bring lightning-fast Internet service to the community.

The newly-approved Plan also provides a strategy for deploying Smart City solutions that can enhance the City’s services and improve the quality of life for its residents, focusing on the areas of public safety, digital inclusion, transportation, and digital services. The Plan, according to the City’s news release, also includes policy recommendations that will help drive broadband and innovation, including the implementation of broadband friendly policies and wireless policies to govern the roll out of enhanced wireless service.

“Smart City” efforts refer to the use of technology solutions to more efficiently manage municipal assets and resources, while improving the overall quality of life for people within the city. Examples include smart street lights; smart parking systems; intelligent transportation systems; enhanced broadband services; and data analytics programs and related information systems. 

San Leandro Next, which also offered details of the new Fiber Optic Master Plan, is an initiative of the City of San Leandro Community Development Department providing news and updates on economic development and innovation. According to its website, the City is poised for growth with access to two international airports, BART, two highways, the Port of Oakland, Silicon Valley, the highly-skilled Bay Area workforce, and a business-friendly approach by City staff. Its leadership positions San Leandro as an ideal location for both established tech businesses and start ups to be more productive and successful, and reports that, along with miles of shoreline and award-winning restaurants and coffee shops, the city is ready and able to meet the needs of the businesses today and in the future.

San Leandro’s Mayor Cutter and the City Council recently proclaimed the week of October 6-13 as Resilience Week. An announcement stated, “Climate change is a global issue that communities need to tackle collectively. By implementing solutions in daily routines, members of the community can help make a difference together.”

The City’s IT Manager, Tony Batalla, and Pilot City Co-Founder, Derick Lee, recently participated in the 5th Annual East Bay Broadband Consortium Summit, held on October 4, where they discussed San Leandro’s Smart City initiatives. The event was focused on efforts toward digital inclusion solutions, including donating used computers, digital literacy training, and low-cost internet connections. 

Community Profile, Future Actions

The City of San Leandro, founded by Spanish explorers in 1772, prides itself on being one of the most diverse cities in the nation, located at the center of the dynamic San Francisco Bay Area. With a vibrant community of more than 89,000 residents, San Leandro is proud of its well-maintained neighborhoods, excellent public libraries, twenty-one public parks, quality local schools, and a wide range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It also boasts a large industrial area that is home to a thriving advanced manufacturing industry. With access to two international airports, BART, two highways, the Port of Oakland, Silicon Valley, the highly-skilled Bay Area workforce, and a business-friendly approach by City staff, San Leandro positions itself as an ideal location for both established tech businesses and start ups to be more productive and successful.

A city news release issued about Resilient San Leandro Week also noted that the City Council will further consider an award of $539,000 from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (Measure AA) to design and permit a natural wetland for wastewater treatment in a future Council meeting. The design substitutes traditional chemical processes for nutrient removal from wastewater with a natural marsh that will double as habitat for native species.

A natural treatment wetland would help San Leandro’s shoreline become resilient to threats posed by climate change. In addition to increasing heat events and drought, San Leandro faces both sea level rise and increased precipitation, which combine to create storm surges that can flood infrastructure along the San Francisco Bay. The City’s water treatment processes are critical to maintaining a healthy, thriving community for years to come.

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