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In this issue:

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Good Call: New Joint Venture Guide for Improving Cell Phone Service in Silicon Valley

Cell phone service is no longer a matter of mere convenience for Silicon Valley companies, nor just a luxury for consumers. In today’s world most people can’t imagine getting through the day without it. Established businesses, entrepreneurial start-ups, and residential consumers are choosing locations by the quality of cell phone service.

And yet many people in Silicon Valley find they cannot rely on the service. Calls are dropped, sound quality is poor, and sometimes there is simply no connection.  It’s hard to believe, but cell phone service in Silicon Valley is not up to world standards.

Joint Venture has produced a short primer that explains why this is, and offers solutions—solutions that will come about when Silicon Valley residents, our elected officials, and our local service providers are working as partners.

Joint Venture is committed to building these partnerships, and we eagerly invite your support.

Click here to download Joint Venture’s Guide, hot off the press.

Click here to read more about the project and to report a dead cell zone.

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California’s Digital Disconnect: Many Latinos and Low-Income Households Are Offline

Joint Venture-PPIC Panel on Information Technology Draws Large Crowd

Fewer than half of California’s Latinos have home computers and only four in ten low-income households with computers have Internet access, a panel of public policy experts told a capacity gathering at a July 24 seminar presented by Joint Venture and the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

Three in four Californians use a computer at home, school, or work, the same as the national average, but as PPIC president and survey director Mark Baldassare explained, “California is a leader in creating information technology but we are only average in our use of computers and the internet.”

The survey, conducted in collabration with the California Emerging Technology Fund, also looked at perceptions of the role of government in such areas as providing wireless connectivity, access to broadband, and Internet regulation.

Following Baldassare’s remarks a panel discussed the study’s implications. Panelists included Joint Venture vice president Seth Fearey, Sunne Wright McPeak, president and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund, Al Hammond, director of the Broadband Institute of California, and Nora Vargas, executive director of the Latino Issue Forum.

“The digital divide is a manifestation of the economic divide,” commented McPeak during the discussion.

Others in attendance included former state senator and assemblyman John Vasconcellos, a Joint Venture board member emeritus, and Foothill-De Anza Community College chancellor Martha Kantor, a past co-chair of the Joint Venture board.

Click here to read more about the survey and to access a PDF of the full report.

Click here to read the San Jose Mercury News article about the Digital Divide meeting at Joint Venture.

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Wireless Test Site Goes Up In San Carlos

The new Wireless Silicon Valley project test site in San Carlos is now undergoing installation. With the help of a crew from Larry Electric, Cisco and Covad began installing wireless equipment in downtown San Carlos in early July.

Some 40 wireless access points will be going up on street lights and buildings along El Camino Real and in the central business district. Using specialized equipment, Cisco is testing signal strength to make sure that coverage is as complete and reliable as possible.

Stay tuned for updates on the results of the tests and connecting the first businesses.

Click here to read an article in Wi-Fi Planet about the latest developments in the San Carlos test project.
 
Click here to read more about Joint Venture’s Wireless Silicon Valley project, including the most frequently asked questions.

Green Neighbors: Keeping Climate Protection Efforts at Home

Green Neighbors, a project of Joint Venture’s Climate Protection Task Force, is helping local non-profits raise money to curb greenhouse gas emissions.  Hosted by Bring Light, the new service matches donors to projects in their own communities. 

Non-profit organizations can list their projects on the BringLight.com website to raise all or part of the money they need. Donors can search the database several ways to find a project they want to support and make a contribution of as little as $5.  All participants have to be 501(c)(3) charities, so every donation is tax deductible.

We already have a few projects listed. To see the listings on BringLight, click on a project:

To list projects, charities can click here to set up an account with Bring Light (use Promotion Code GREEN8 to be included in the Green Neighbors program).  The folks at Bring Light are happy to provide coaching on effective project descriptions and photos (very important).

Click here to learn more about the Green Neighbors project of Joint Venture’s Climate Protection Task Force.

Click here to read about Green Neighbors Projects in Silicon Valley.

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Joint Venture Spotlight

Meet Tim Haight

Joint Venture Board of Directors

Like many highly accomplished people, Menlo College President Tim Haight experienced a defining moment as a young man that changed the course of his life forever and propelled him to a successful career in business and academia.

Raised in Washington, D.C., Haight was both dyslexic and hearing impaired, but that’s not why he flunked first grade or what he overcame to build his distinguished career as a prominent university finance professor, a dean of the business college at Cal State LA, or the eighth president of Menlo College in Atherton.

Valley Vision talked with this engaging institution builder and community leader about his challenging youth, his own college experiences, his career in higher education, his vision for Menlo College and Silicon Valley—and that turning point that changed everything.

Click here to read more about Tim Haight.

Save the Date: State of the Valley 2009 – February 20



Mark your calendars now for State of the Valley 2009, presented by Joint Venture and sponsored in part by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

This annual “Town Hall” conference features the release and discussion of the Silicon Valley Index, luminary keynote speakers, informative panel discussions on vital issues and a day of networking.

The 2009 event will take place on Friday, February 20 in the San Jose Civic Auditorium and Parkside Hall. More information on speakers, panels and tickets will be coming soon.

Click here to read about State of the Valley 2008.

Click here to read last year’s Silicon Valley Index.

Article of the Month

A New “Metropolitics” – Are We Ready? by Neal Peirce

Washington Post writer Neil Peirce suggests the time may be ripe for a radical new “deal” between the federal government and America’s metropolitan regions.

Metros—the  increasingly urbanized regions that make up the “citistates” of our time—are  the center of action in today’s America, the country’s wellsprings of innovation, investors, higher learning, advanced research, and profitable businesses.

But while the metros have our top talent, says Peirce, they’re often disorganized, divided into hundreds of small municipalities. “We need to make them ‘tick’ better—to perform well on every count from new energy- and carbon-saving transportation systems to capitalizing on their universities’ breakthrough discoveries,” he writes.

Click here to read the full article.