Atherton's City Council members have a busy day today with a goals-and-strategy session starting in the morning and a late afternoon study session devoted to the idea of installing optical fiber cable throughout the town, which could be used to provide free basic high-speed Internet connections to everyone in Atherton.
The goals-and-strategy session was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. in the Holbrook-Palmer Park main house, 150 Watkins Ave.
The fiber system study session starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, in the town's council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.
Also on the study session agenda are a review of capital improvements to be included in the 2015-2016 budget, and possible updates to the town's business license regulations. New building department tracking software will also be demonstrated.
The presentation on the optical fiber system shows that a private company would install fiber cables underground throughout the town at its own cost, with the cables running to a central office. One cable would go to each property, with the option of purchasing a bundle of four cables for an even higher level of service. The presentation says the cost for the additional bundle of cables, which would be owned by the purchaser, would be about $6,000.
The presentation was put together by Mayor Rick DeGolia and council member Bill Widmer. They are both on the town's Technology Committee, which has been discussing this concept for almost a year. The presentation says that free basic Internet service could be provided to every Atherton resident through the one free cable connection by the Atherton Library.
Mr. DeGolia says the goal is to have 10 gigabit connections available through the optical cable, both for downloads and uploads. Mike Farmwald, a member of the Technology Committee said the typical connection, for now, will be closer to 1 gigabit, which is 10-100 times faster than most Internet services now available to local residents. The fiber system is expandable to more than 1 terabit a second in the future, he said.
The free Internet service, the presentation says, would be provided through the Atherton Library, which would lease access to the fiber network and provide basic Internet "for all network users" as well as direct library services such as computer help and education.