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By Paul Bendix

Hope and Speed in Menlo Park

Uploaded: Nov 2, 2014

There must be a civic goal that can pull Menlo Park together – particularly after the bruising fight over Proposition M. What could truly inspire our community, leverage our best talents and get everyone more or less on the same page?

Recently after an exasperating bout with Apple TV...a movie failing to download on a Saturday night, again...it occurred to me.... What if we decided to connect all of Menlo Park in a truly high-speed network?

Would this mean fiber optics right into everyone's home? I confess to being out of my depth here. But that's fine, because our "best talents" includes several thousand Menlo Park residents who can answer this and other questions about high-speed connectivity.

I'm not sure what has gone awry with Palo Alto's long discussed plans for a citywide fiber-optic network. Nor do I quite understand what Google is, and isn't doing, in bringing high-speed conductivity to a few cities. What I do know is that if the utility in Cedar Falls, Iowa, can connect fiber-optic cable to its homes, businesses and, yes, even farms, surely so can we.

My consumer's desire for high-speed connectivity pales against the needs of business, of education...and general citywide growth and development. Measure M has left me somewhat battle weary. But the fight to get local infrastructure into the 21st century seems well worth it. The likes of Comcast will scream and yell. But that's okay. We have people in this town who can scream and yell much more intelligently.