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.
- Emerging Technologies – IMT-2020 (5G), IMT-Advanced (4G), CBRS, SON, NFV.
- 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.
- Backhaul Technologies – Wireless (sub 6 GHz, millimeter-wave, licensed and unlicensed), Gig-E, Point-to-Multipoint.
- Public Safety – SAFECOM Interoperability, FirstNet, Wireless E-911.
- 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 grew to nearly 80 exabytes per month in Q3 2021. 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.
Joint Venture Board Champion: Javier Gonzalez, Google
Co-Chair: Dr. Edwin Tasch, Chief of Neurology - Santa Clara Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente
Co-Chair: Hon. Lily Mei, Mayor, City of Fremont
Our project is guided by a Steering Committee consisting of:
- Talin Aghazarian, Government Affairs Lead, Modus Inc.
- Maureen Cruzen, Municipal Engagement Partner, Verizon Wireless
- Cody Einfalt, Management Analyst II, Town of Los Altos Hills
- Dave Eller, Senior Director - GEMS Channel, Wave Broadband
- Kathleen Boutté Foster, Chief Information Officer, City of Sunnyvale
- Josh Wallace, Fiber Optics Business Development, City of Palo Alto
- William Hammett, P.E., President & CEO, Hammett & Edison
- Roger Jensen, Chief Information Officer, City of Mountain View
- Imre Kabai, Chief Information Officer, County of Santa Clara
- Kieran Kelly, Supervisor's Analyst, County of Santa Cruz
- Adam Kostrzak, Chief Information Officer, City of Hayward
- Hans Larsen, Public Works Director, City of Fremont
- John Lang, Economic Vitality Manager, City of Mountain View
- Rob Lloyd, Chief Information Officer, City of San José
- Scott Longhurst, President, California Wireless Association
- Chad Mosley, City Engineer, City of Cupertino
- Amy Olay, City Engineer, City of Campbell
- Robert Ovadia, Director of Public Works, Town of Atherton
- 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
- John Stefanski, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Dublin
- Theadora Vriheas, VP External Affairs, AT&T Wireless
- Michael Wentworth, Chief Information Officer, County of San Mateo
- Glen Williams, Asset Development Manager, County of Santa Clara
- Paul Willis, Public Works Director, Town of Hillsborough
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.
- July 2021: WCI coordinated and published an economic study on the effect of small wireless facilities on residential real estate:
- 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 are 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: