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Silicon Valley seeks proposals for large scale wireless network

Milpitas, CA | April 28, 2006 – The Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force today released a Request for Proposal for the development of a multi-use, high-speed, wireless data network that will cover 1,500 square miles and reach 2.4 million people. The network will enable residents, visitors and workers to connect anytime, anywhere and on the go throughout the Silicon Valley.

“This is the kind of ambitious project that made Silicon Valley famous,” said Eric Benhamou, chair of Smart Valley, 3Com and Palm, Inc. “Building a large scale network that will meet the needs of public safety agencies, businesses and the general public will be challenging, but the benefits will be great. Silicon Valley must be the place to be if you want to be connected.”

The RFP calls for a network that provides free or low-cost basic outdoor wireless service that supports seamless, nomadic and portable wireless connectivity. The network could also provide enhanced outdoor wireless service (subscription), guaranteed indoor wireless service, government service, and public safety enhanced service that is secure and provides private networking.

“Unlike many other wireless city projects, Wireless Silicon Valley is being done as a partnership of the public and private sectors,” said Russell Hancock, President and CEO, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network. “By working together we are creating a more attractive market that will drive new applications and stimulate the imaginations of our entrepreneurs.”

The Task Force would like the wireless network to support current and emerging wireless technologies that can be used by business, consumer, and the public sector. Applications might include: mobile credit card readers, traffic information management, GPS specific tourist information, best location dispatch of emergency responders, and remote monitoring and control of flood control pumps and drinking water distribution systems.

Thirty-six public agencies in Alameda, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties are offering potential vendors guaranteed service agreements, streamlined permitting, and a single point of negotiation for terms. Vendors will be able to reduce costs by designing a network that will support a variety of wireless technologies on a large scale.

The RFP prefers an “open network model” that is privately owned and operated but provides access to multiple service providers. The Task Force believes this competition can leverage the network to stimulate economic and community development by expanding opportunities for emerging wireless technologies, increasing wireless enabled business development, improving government services, including applications for public safety and emergency response, and filling in gaps to affordable broadband services.

Chaired by Brian Moura, Assistant City Manager for the City of San Carlos, and Dan Fenton, President and CEO of the San Jose Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau, the Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force wants a network that will service a variety of customers:

  • Public agencies with applications ranging from building inspections to web cameras for security and wireless parking meters.
  • Businesses looking for access to affordable broadband service at the office and to give sales and service personnel access to central databases from the customer’s location.
  • Emergency response teams for sending patient information from the road to the hospital, and to coordinate disaster response teams when other communications channels have failed.
  • Short term access for business and recreational travelers.
  • Residents looking for an alternative broadband service that works on the go, away from home and the office.

“Our vision is to have a seamless, interoperable, network that spans the region, from Daly City in the north, to Fremont in the east bay, Morgan Hill to the south, and Santa Cruz on the coast,” said Moura. “If you have a Wi-Fi enabled computer, laptop, PDA or perhaps even a Wi-Fi enabled phone, you'll be able to use it from San Carlos to San Jose without worrying about changing accounts or log-ins. This level of wireless broadband service in Silicon Valley will take the region to the next level. With the creativity and talent of the residents and businesses in this region, one can only imagine what will be possible when Wireless Silicon Valley moves from the RFP stage to reality later this year.”

The San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority (SAMCAT) will issue the RFP on behalf of the entire initiative. The RFP further outlines technical standards, qualifications for responders, and a framework for the network’s governance and operation.

Intel® Solution Services provided the task force with technical assistance on the development of the RFP; the Task Force selected Intel because of its expertise with wireless data technologies. Intel Solution Services has collaborated on successful RFP’s for similar projects for the City of Portland, as well as projects with the City of Tempe and Arizona State University.

“The vision for the Silicon Valley broadband wireless network mirrors Intel's Digital Communities initiative to develop and deploy end-to-end wireless networking on a city-wide and regional scale,” said TK Tien, Principal Strategist, Intel Corporation, Customer Solutions Group. “The benefits of wireless mobility and seamless roaming is not just a future objective, it's a standard that business and consumers are demanding, and expect as the new normal.”

Intel Solution Services provided a portion of its consulting services as an in-kind contribution. Intel has agreed not to respond to the RFP.

Responses to the RFP are due on June 30, 2006. The Task Force will review the responses and make recommendations to the cities and counties in September. The first elements of the network should be operational in late December or early January 2007.

To see a copy of the RFP and for more information see:

About Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network

Established in 1993, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network provides analysis and action on issues affecting our region's 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 and work toward innovative solutions.

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The San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority (SAMCAT) is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) formed in June 1989 to manage the negotiations and renewal of the franchise for Cable TV with TCI for five agencies. SAMCAT expanded its charter in 1996 to include all aspects of telecommunications including competitive access providers, telephone and cellular services, wireless companies, fiber optics and antenna siting issues. 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.

Today, SAMCAT includes 17 agencies in San Mateo County (Belmont, Brisbane, Colma, Daly City, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside and San Mateo County) with a combined population over 500,000.

About Intel Corporation

Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at

Intel® Solution Services is Intel’s worldwide professional services organization, helping communities around the world implement and manage new wireless initiatives.

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