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Atherton Fiber
Atherton Fiber Project

fiberIn mid-2014 the City Council created the Technology Subcommittee. The Subcommittee is 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, Town 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 and made a proposal to the Town Council at the July City Council meeting. At that meeting, the Council directed staff to work further with Atherton Fiber to create a possible Development/Encroachment Agreement for the project. 

Atherton Fiber would offer up to 10 gigabits/second making it one of the fastest and most robust Fiber Network in the world. Atherton Fiber anticipates that the build out will be 20% underground and 80% aerial, leveraging existing overhead and below-ground systems. The overall cost to complete the build-out Town-wide is estimated at $6.5-$7 million. The goal of the project is to install a minimum of one fiber to each home in Atherton. 

To finance the project, Atherton Fiber plans to raise approximately $3 million via a traditional investment mechanism (led by Mike) and other interested Atherton residents. The remaining funds would be raised by selling interested property owners a "set" of bundled fibers to their home that they would own directly. The Chief Operating Officer for Atherton Fiber is Robert Hayes.  

Atherton Fiber estimates that 20% of residents (500 homes) will purchase the bundled fiber set. These sets would only be available as part of the initial design. Once the system is installed, no additional fiber sets can be run and homes would only be able to access their single fiber run. Purchasing a bundled set of fibers for current and future use when the system is initially deployed is like an initial public offering. Those sets of fibers can be used by the property any way they choose without an ongoing lease requirement. For the remaining single fiber runs to each property, if the property owner wants service on that fiber line, they will need to lease that fiber from Atherton Fiber. 

At its July 2015 Regular Meeting, the Council unanimously voted to direct the City Attorney to prepare an Agreement with Atherton Fiber which would enable Atherton Fiber to access the Town's rights-of-way throughout the Town to provide the fiber to every residence in the Town and to connect all residents that that want to be connected. In exchange for such access, the Town may seek to receive fiber services for its public service delivery, to include the potential for emergency notification, traffic signal management, security management, street light management, information sharing, and other traditional communications, entertainment and internet access.

Atherton Fiber expects to create a central office locations to lease access to internet service providers chosen by residents (Google, Sonic, AT&T, Comcast and others). Choice is one of the primary benefits of the system design. Service providers that are already in the Atherton service market may wish to assess the cost-benefit of offering services over the Atherton Fiber network.

Atherton Fiber also hopes that the Atherton Library will lease access to entire Fiber Network. By leasing access to the system, the Library can deliver 21st-century library services to the living rooms of those on the network. If this occurs, Atherton Fiber may seek to have its service providers offer basic Internet service to anyone on the fiber network at no cost.

The Atherton Fiber Network is a huge win-win for Atherton residents, the Town, and the Atherton Library that puts us on the cutting edge of service delivery options using possibly the fastest fiber network in the world.

For more information on Atherton Fiber, visit the Atherton Fiber website at http://www.athertonfiber.com. The Town anticipates completing the Agreement in 2016 and anticipates work on the Network to begin soon. 

The Town will provide basic information via its website, but because this is a private network designed and built privately, the Town will refer most issues directly to Atherton Fiber. Contact information is available on the Town's website and as more information becomes available, the Town will list it here. 

Twitter: #AthertonTech

Primary Points of Contact

Atherton Fiber
Mike Farmwald
Email: Atherton.Fiber@gmail.com

Robert Hayes, CEO
Email: rhayes@athertonfiber.com
Website: www.athertonfiber.com

Atherton Technology Subcommittee

Rick DeGolia
Email Rick

Bill Widmer
Email Bill