Nothing is free in life-Not even Wi-Fi-But, that could change

20130918-074458.jpgPalo Alto City Council members said yesterday that the city should spend between $250,000 and $450,000 to devise a plan that would eventually lead to Wi-Fi service throughout the city and bring high-speed Internet to residents.

Palo Alto already had a “fiber to the premises” system that it uses to sell high speed Internet to a few commercial buyers. But at the moment, the fiber optic service is still expensive and is available to only a limited number of customers.

But yesterday, council members Larry Klein, Liz Kniss and Nancy Shepard and Mayor Greg Scharff who are on the technology and connected city committee, said they wanted to change that by bringing high-speed Internet access to more parts of the city.

Concept involves bring service to parks, plazas

That would likely include expanding this is existing high speed fiber network and using it to produce wireless Internet networks that would furnish Palo Alto Parks, Plaza and other “dead zone “with wireless service.

According to Scharff, “the point is to give people wireless Internet that is faster than what they get on their phone.”

According to a report by city manager James Keene, the cost of hiring a consultant to come up with a plan for getting high-speed fiber optic Internet to Paulo alto home would be between $150,000 and $350,000.

The cost of having a consultant come up with a wireless network plan would be up to $100,000.

The money for those plans would come out of the cities fiber fund reserve, which has almost the $15.3 million that the city has already made from its existing fiber system.

Palo Alto has been talking about connecting homes with a fiber optic system since the late 90s. In 2009, a $45 million plan to build such a system fell apart when Canadian-based and Axia netmedia corp. pulled out of the partnership with the city when it’s funding partner withdrew its money during the recession.

Axia turn to the city and asked for between $3 million and $5 million per year in support but the city turned it down.

Some cities, like Chattanooga, Tenn, And Santa Monica have successfully created their own fiber optic systems. Other cities fared less well. Provo, Utah, ended up millions of dollars in debt after selling their mismanaged system to Google for $1.

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