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Wireless Communications Initiative

What are we doing?

Joint Venture’s Wireless Communications Initiative (WCI) is a coalition between the wireless industry, local governments, businesses, and residents. Together, we are working to improve the wireless network infrastructure in Silicon Valley. The coalition builds on existing relationships with technology companies and local government leaders to drive a coordinated public-private sector effort and to mount a highly strategic campaign to transform Silicon Valley’s wireless network infrastructure into a world-class showcase of speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Focus areas

  • Emerging Technologies – IMT-2020 (5G), CBRS, SON, NFV, IMT-Advanced.
  • Carrier Telecommunications – Cellular Voice and Mobile Data, Small Cells, DAS, CPRI/CRAN, HetNets.
  • Unlicensed Wireless Networks – Wi-Fi, LTE-U, LAA, LWA, MulteFire, non-traditional carrier models (Wi-Fi First, Wi-Fi Only).
  • Backhaul Technologies – Wireless (sub 6 GHz, 60/70/80 GHz, licensed and unlicensed), Gig-E, Point-to-Multipoint Fiber Replacement.
  • Public Safety – SAFECOM Interoperability, FirstNet, Wireless E-911.

Our strategies

  • Educate Public and Private Sector Stakeholders: Identify key stakeholders in cities and counties and educate them on technology and trends in the wireless industry. Similarly, educate the wireless industry on how to partner and work with cities/counties.
  • Locate New Technologies: Identify early-stage companies with compelling technology and bring those companies to the attention of the consortium.
  • Promote Model Ordinances and Processes: Work with cities and counties to provide best practices and guidelines for developing wireless deployment ordinances that encourage innovation and deployment.
  • Heighten Advocacy in Local Jurisdictions: Provide a strong regional voice speaking to the competitive and economic implications of a robust wireless network infrastructure.
  • Expand Coalition: Find common ground and encourage dialog between local governments, businesses, technology companies, and the wireless industry and build coalitions to improve regional wireless networks.

Why are we doing it?

World-class wireless networks are key to robust economic development. Networks are an important component in attracting and retaining the world's best talent, and are increasingly a key tool for ensuring public safety as citizens transition away from landline telephones. Nearly half of U.S. households are now only using wireless. While our economic growth is the envy of the world. Unfortunately our wireless networks are not. Dead zones, slow data, and dropped voice calls are common. Visitors from outside the area are often surprised that Silicon Valley's wireless networks are not more robust. After all, most wireless technology is developed right here. The reasons for this problem are complex, but in general they're rooted in the way that companies interact and partner with local governments. To remain competitive and foster innovation, the Wireless Communications Initiative provides education and works to build public-private partnerships so we can deploy world-class wireless networks. We also host briefings and publish documents to help educate municipal leaders, such as Bridging the Gap: 21st Century Wireless Telecommunications Handbook.

Why do we have this problem?

Wireless networks are now carrying enormous amounts of data traffic. In 2014 global mobile data traffic was eight exabytes per month and is projected to grow to 71 exabytes per month by 2020. We are placing ever-increasing demands on our radio frequency (RF) spectrum, a limited-yet-critical resource for wireless networks. Aside from the pandemic, our economic boom is being driven by the Mobile Economy; smartphones, apps, and the services enabled by them. Unfortunately, our wireless networks are not keeping pace. The proliferation of smartphones and connected devices requiring wireless data is pushing existing infrastructure beyond its limits. Yet the process of obtaining permits and negotiating contracts to deploy systems is complex and time-consuming. We need better networks, faster and more efficient technologies, and we need to remove obstacles to deployment so companies with innovative technologies can deploy networks that will feed our appetite for wireless data.

Who's involved?

Joint Venture Board Champion: Javier Gonzalez, Google
Co-Chair: Dr. Edwin Tasch, Chief of Neurology - Santa Clara Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente
Co-Chair: Jon Walton, Chief Information Officer, County of San Mateo

Our project is guided by a Steering Committee consisting of:

  • Anton D. Batalla, Head of IT, City of San Leandro
  • Al Brown, President/CEO, SmartWAVE Technologies
  • Dave Eller, Senior Director - GEMS Channel, Wave Broadband
  • Kathleen Boutté Foster, Chief Information Officer, City of Sunnyvale
  • Chantal Gaines, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Palo Alto
  • William Hammett, P.E., President & CEO, Hammett & Edison
  • Roger Jensen, Chief Information Officer, City of Mountain View
  • Stan Ketchum, Senior Planner, City of Gilroy
  • Adam Kostrzak, Chief Information Officer, City of Hayward
  • Angela Kung, External Affairs Manager, AT&T Wireless
  • Hans Larsen, Public Works Director, City of Fremont
  • John Lang, Economic Development, City of Morgan Hill
  • Rob Lloyd, Chief Information Officer, City of San José
  • William McShane II, Director of Americas @ iCity Venture, Signify
  • Chad Mosley, City Engineer, City of Cupertino
  • Patrick Mulhearn, Policy Director - 2nd Supervisorial District, County of Santa Cruz
  • Amy Olay, City Engineer, City of Campbell
  • Dan Ripke, Director - Economic Development / Grants and Funding @ Institute for Innovation and Economic Development, CSU Monterey Bay
  • Tracy Scramaglia, Sr. Civil Engineer, City of San Mateo
  • Radha Sharma, Senior Manager of Municipal Engagement, Verizon Wireless
  • JoAnna Wang, Government Affairs Manager, Modus Inc.
  • Lynn Whitcher, President, California Wireless Association
  • Glen Williams, Asset Development Manager, County of Santa Clara

What are the latest developments?

  • December 2019: Updated and published Bridging the Gap: 21st Century Wireless Telecommunications Handbook (2nd Edition, 2019). This handbook was written primarily for municipal employees, elected local government officials, and civic leaders to help guide their understanding of new and future wireless technologies. First published in 2016, the second edition updates previous material on the socio-economic value of wireless technologies and the interplay of local versus federal public policy regarding permitting and costs, and adds new material on topics including: 5G cellular, CBRS, and analyses of peer-reviewed scientific and academic studies on electromagnetic field (EMF) safety. The handbook is available at no cost in PDF format or on Amazon for a nominal fee.
  • March 2020: In conjunction with the Community Broadband Initiative, WCI released two concept papers:
  • May 2020: In conjunction with the Community Broadband Initiative, WCI developed a proposal for the Santa Clara County Office of Education to provide strategic action planning for implementation of broadband networks to underserved communities for distance learning, telehealth, and digital inclusion.
  • Ongoing: Co-chair the Deployment Working Group at IEEE Future Networks.
  • Ongoing: Co-chair the Wireless SuperCluster for Global City Teams Challenge (a NIST-led project).

What are the next steps?

  • We will be recruiting additional members for the Initiative, and will seek new solutions from within Silicon Valley's robust technology ecosystem.
  • Technology companies, employees of local governments, businesses, and residents can contact us to find out more about the Initiative and factors affecting regional wireless networks.
  • We will be contributing to open State and Federal proceedings in order to support changes in law that will encourage faster, cheaper, and more wireless and broadband infrastructure.
  • Webinars, Roundtables, and Symposiums will be hosted on a regular basis to provide education and a forum for coalition-building.
  • We will meet regularly with elected officials to show how world-class wireless networks can have a positive impact on Silicon Valley’s economic vitality and competitiveness.
  • Steering Committee meetings are held every six weeks.

Where do I find out more?

To learn more about the Wireless Communications Initiative, to request a briefing, or to inquire about membership please contact:

David Witkowski

Civic Technologies Program during COVID-19

Joint Venture’s Civic Technologies Program – including the Wireless Communications Initiative and the Community Broadband Initiative - is working with providers to deepen our region’s broadband penetration, and bring it directly to people. Before the onset of COVID-19, many people found internet connectivity through schools, libraries, work, and public Wi-Fi networks.

The team has opened discussions with leaders at the state and federal level, defining an approach that can be deployed quickly to serve broadband to our region’s home-bound residents, and sounding a call for relaxed regulations during the crisis.

Wireless Communications

Joint Venture's Wireless Communications Initiative brings together the wireless industry, technology companies, local governments, businesses, and residents to improve wireless networks in the Silicon Valley.

Wireless Initiative Partners

  • AT&T Mobility
  • California State University
  • California Wireless Association
  • City of Campbell
  • City of Cupertino
  • City of Fremont
  • City of Gilroy
  • City of Hayward
  • City of Morgan Hill
  • City of Mountain View
  • City of Oakland
  • City of Palo Alto
  • City of San Mateo
  • City of San José
  • City of San Leandro
  • City of Sunnyvale
  • County of San Mateo
  • County of Santa Clara
  • County of Santa Cruz
  • Google
  • Hammett & Edison
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Mobile Experts LLC
  • Modus, Inc.
  • Oku Solutions LLC
  • Signify
  • Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority
  • SmartWAVE Technologies
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Wave Broadband
  • Wireless Communications Alliance