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Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and SAMCAT announce vendor for Wireless Silicon Valley

Collaboration of IBM, Cisco, Azulstar, and SeaKay to build 1,500 square mile network for a new, mobile generation

San Jose and San Carlos, California – The leadership of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, Smart Valley, and the San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority (SAMCAT) today announced the selection of Silicon Valley Metro Connect, a collaboration of IBM, Cisco, Azulstar, and SeaKay to build, own, and operate a high-speed, outdoor, wireless network that will serve 42 entities and 2.4 million people in Silicon Valley. This includes every City and County in both San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties as well as the cities of Fremont and Newark in Alameda County and the City of Santa Cruz.

“The Metro Connect proposal will help us achieve our vision of making Silicon Valley one of the first communities in the world to benefit from the technologies, applications, services and tools we invent,” said Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network. “So many wireless technologies were invented here, at Cisco and Intel, and by countless local entrepreneurs with the help of our universities and venture capitalists. When the Internet is available everywhere and anywhere we are going to see another leap forward in innovation and the emergence of exciting new devices, services and applications.”

“Joint Venture created the Smart Valley initiative for precisely this reason,” said Eric Benhamou, Chair of 3Com and Palm, and Chair of Joint Venture’s Smart Valley initiative. “Our mission is to make Silicon Valley a pioneer and a pathbreaker, pushing the technologies we invent farther and deeper.”

“What really attracted us to the Metro Connect proposal was the combination of skills that they brought to the table through the partnership of Cisco, IBM, Azulstar, and SeaKay. Metro Connect also offered more extensive wireless Internet coverage of the Silicon Valley region than the other two finalist firms. Both of these features of their proposal proved quite compelling in our evaluation process,” said Brian Moura, Chairman of SAMCAT and Co-chair of Wireless Silicon Valley, the moniker given to the project sponsored by SAMCAT and Joint Venture. “The high-speed outdoor free services that the Metro Connect proposal offers will provide an extra level of convenience to our residents, but it will also allow business people, service workers, public safety officials, and visitors to be more productive as they move around the Valley.”

In most of the region it will be possible to bring the outdoor signal indoors with the aid of special, signal boosting equipment that users will be able to purchase for $80 to $120. The free service, combined with customer purchased signal boosters, has the potential to dramatically increase the number of people with access to the Internet, including those who have not been able to afford a connection. SeaKay will take the lead in working with community organizations like One Economy to help low income communities get computers, training, signal boosters, support, and access to the information they need to find work, improve their health, and stay in touch with their families.

Wireless Silicon Valley participants have received inquiries from local businesses and residents about the upcoming project and how it will benefit them. Task force members believe that the service will provide value to both business and residents.

City and County Public Safety, Building, Planning and Public Works departments are looking forward to working with IBM to learn more about how the network will address their ability to provide better services to the public and to address their special needs for reliability, security, and availability in an emergency. The proposal also provides for a Public Safety tier of wireless service that includes additional security features for Police and Fire Departments that may wish to use the wireless network. Machines will talk to each other, monitoring energy efficiency in buildings, irrigation systems, and water levels in creeks and reservoirs.

“We are breaking new ground with this network,” said Dan Fenton, President and CEO of San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau, Chairman of the Board of Team San Jose, and Co-chair of the Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force. “The Silicon Valley Metro Connect network will move us well beyond individual e-mail downloads, and web surfing coffee shop hot spots here and there. We envision contiguous event-wide wireless services and applications tailored for trade shows and conferences, street fairs, and the arts that will add to the reasons why Silicon Valley is a uniquely desirable place to meet. Visitors will fuel added economic development through wireless enabled applications and information yielding dividends to business with corporate headquarters here along with local businesses serving our guests such as our many hotels, restaurants, entertainment and shopping establishments.”

Silicon Valley Metro Connect Team Member Roles:

  • IBM Project management, systems & applications integration, financing
  • Cisco Systems Network equipment, design, and engineering
  • Azulstar Operations, wholesaling, city applications
  • SeaKay Digital inclusion, community outreach

The Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force now begins the negotiation of a model agreement with Metro Connect. The model agreement will then go to the Governing Bodies of the 42 members of the alliance for approval. The first agencies to approve the agreement and permits for the installation of the network equipment will be the first to get the network installed. The plan is to complete the model agreement by the end of October and begin construction in early 2007.

The team is planning a public event for the end of October to showcase some of the applications that will become feasible with the new network.

Wireless Silicon Valley is a project of Smart Valley, an initiative of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network. For additional information visit:


The San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority (SAMCAT) is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) formed in June 1989. It has 18 member agencies including the cities of Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Mateo County, South San Francisco and Woodside as well as San Mateo County. It has developed model agreements that have sped time to market for companies such as RCN which obtained their first competitive Cable TV Franchises in California from San Mateo County agencies that are SAMCAT members. It also manages programs for its members including the Emmy Award Winning Peninsula TV channel on Comcast and RCN Cable Systems in San Mateo County and the RCN Multi-Jurisdictional Fiber Network (MJN) in Silicon Valley.

About Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network

Established in 1993, Joint Venture provides analysis and action on issues affecting the Silicon Valley economy and quality of life. The organization brings together established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community—to spotlight issues, launch projects and work toward innovative solutions. For more information visit

About Smart Valley

An Initiative of Joint Venture, Smart Valley’s mission is to promote pervasive public access to information technologies in the Silicon Valley region by exploring applications that significantly improve the lives of the people who live here, and by encouraging the rapid deployment of next generation communications infrastructure. In addition to Wireless Silicon Valley, Smart Valley is managing two other projects. Wireless Campus seeks to transform instruction in the community college system by encouraging the use of wireless networks on campuses and in classrooms. Smart Health seeks to build a Healthcare Information Exchange that will improve outcomes, reduce errors, and reduce the cost of care in Silicon Valley.

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