Santa Monica

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The city of Santa Monica, California (CA, US), has a 10Gb/s network available to institutions and businesses in the city (of 80,000) at 100 mbps, 1 gigabit and 10 gigabit service levels and dark fibre. Even without a public electric utility they were able to leverage city rights of way (sewer, water, etc.) to add conduit whenever work was done on these, and to receive fibre instead of payment from cable TV companies upgrading their networks. It serves the traffic light system and advanced metering infrastructure (for water and other non-electric) needs.

The City's IT department runs the network, which is not available to residential customers. Over 200 providers have set up in LA's 1 Wilshire offering various niche services including fibre provision beyond the public core network, all of whom have lit service to WDM Technologies to Santa Monica. Many customers bundle or competitively bid out at 1 Wilshire.

The City has been successful attracting entrepreneurial businesses in the LA area, and also in keeping some (notably a video game company) using the attraction of a redundant 10Gb/s network.

Funding was justified from existing IT and communications expenditures of US$1.3M/year and placing all savings in an expansion fund, replacing telecom company payments.

Key points:

  • Economic development strategy must include broadband and advertise it, it must become a competitive factor
  • Businesses, especially real estate developers and development agreements, should be attracted into the loop

(audio interview)