FTTH Trial Status
Palo Alto Community Center Fiber to the Home Trial Independent Info & News

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Tuesday, November 20, 2001
Based on a Mon, 20 Nov 2001 email by Peter Allen:

The "Palo Alto Main Library" now is connected by a wireless access point to the FTTH Trial! There is Good to Excellent reception throughout the library except for the very far corners. Even there (and outside on the patio!) you can get "Poor" 1Mbps connectivity. This rocks!

My thanks to Diane Jennings (Library Manager) and John Astoraga (CPA IT) for their permission to let me buy and install this. Thanks to Jim Holsworth for helping me configure the wireless device and map out the reception ranges. It took less than 15 minutes to hook the LinkSys WAP11 device up and to get it running.

For those of you with a wireless laptop or card, come on over and use your wireless device's Client Manager to access the "Palo Alto Main Library" wireless FTTH network. This message is sent to you via this network.

Monday, November 19, 2001
Based on a Sun, 18 Nov 2001 PA-ComNet post by Marvin Lee:

Review of the 11/13/01 Community Meeting at the Art Center:

[Ideas for encouraging expansion of Fiber to the Home to other neighborhoods in Palo Alto was an important focus at last week's meeting. Attendess included PA ComNet and PA FiberNet members and Community Center FTTH Trial Participants.]

Mark and Josh reviewed the present very successful installations of FTTH in almost all seventy homes in the trial neighborhood, and everyone from the trial present remarked on the remarkable stability and dependability of the system. Many people had minor technical difficulties getting their particular home/office system to operate correctly but over a short period of time were able to work out the kinks in their system. We now seem to have a bandwidth close to or better than Marconi and the City promised for the trial and an ISP, ViaNet, that functions well. The Heyertech support contractors, Mark and Josh, have done a remarkable job keeping everything on track and moving forward. We have now also added PAC Bell local telephone capabilities to the trial which has already demonstrated that it can operate effectively when copper based phone lines have problems. Possible satellite TV capabilities are available for the trial when the legal pathways are cleared.

In addition, many trial neighbors have developed casual neighborhood support groups which include both techies and more informed neighbors who respond to the needs of those who run into individual or unique home network problems. A short cry for help can bring help within a reasonable time and many problems are solved. Mark and Josh have provided solid support frequently beyond the call of duty as well as continuing research into more difficult problems such as problems emanating from the router essentially because these were not designed for FTTH bandwidth.

Various people at the meeting spoke enthusiastically about the need to get the message on the value of FTTH out to the community immediately. Several proposals were made to expand the trial by establishing wireless base stations in both the library and in other locations within the trial area.

As a result of these discussions, the City Staff has now selected two individual Community Center neighborhood sites for immediate effective deployment of wireless as a supplement to increase the access to the FTTH trial. Peter Allen reported that he has already used this technique to make FTTH available to his neighbor who originally signed up for the trial but later because of the high fee required by the City backed away. She now has full access to the Fiber.

It has been decided to install not only additional plugs for computer stations in the Main Library but to make available wireless from the library which will permit anyone to access the system from their own laptops from anywhere in the library or outside within 25 to thirty yards of the base station.

In addition, the City has now announced plans to create the same kinds of installations, including wireless, in the Lucie Stern Community Center which houses the City's Department of Community Service, recreation, various theater groups, including the Children's Theatre, the Boy Scouts offices, the nearby Girl Scouts and the Children's Library. These organizations were originally included in the FTTH trial. What is significant with these new developments is that with the addition of wireless it will be possible to make available access to the trial to a much larger group within the community.

Further, the City Utility Department is presently considering the possibility of establishing a community access to the FTTH trial at 250 Hamilton, the lobby of City Hall. Some of you may recall that a similar opportunity for the community was placed there when the City first created its own web site.

The whole focus of the meeting shifted, as we had intended, from technical examination of the trial to the importance of getting the message out to the rest of the community that FTTH can be of tremendous benefit both to residents of our community and to the community as a whole.

We are now planning to reactivate and expand our list of PA-Fiber.Net neighborhood coordinators (see www.PA-Fiber.Net) and encourage each of them to talk to their neighbors and begin to organize their neighbors and their blocks and streets so as to be able to effectively inform each other of the community value for having a community wide FTTH system. Most importantly it is to let them know that the City of Palo Alto will soon be seeking their thoughts on extending FTTH to the entire City.

The City FTTH Staff has already begun the work necessary to meet the City Councilís requirements for the evaluation of the trial and the recommendations they must make to the Council. They will need to have your views, those of your neighbors, and their own evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the trial and the models for possible expansion of the trial to the entire community in the hands of the Council by next summer. It is time for us to talk to our neighbors.

Your thoughts?

Monday, November 12, 2001
Based on a Sun, 11 Nov 2001 PA-FiberNet post by Marvin Lee:

The Fiber to the Home Trial for Palo Alto will be the meeting topic Tuesday evening, Nov. 13th at 7:10PM, at the Art Center Auditorium, 1313 Newell Road. (The Auditorium is adjacent to the east parking lot). The meeting is open to all interested in Fiber To The Home for Palo Alto.

This will be a meeting to discuss the successful installation of the FTTH trial in the Community Center neighborhood and a chance for you to ask all of the questions you have been waiting to ask those who are receiving the service, those who installed it, those who are maintaining it and what plans there are to add additional services and if feasible expand it to others in the neighborhood and community.

Available to answer your questions will be representatives of:

the City Utility Department (including Blake Heitzman, Manuel Topete)

Heyertech (Technical support for the trial, including Mark Heyer, Josh Wallace)


ViaNet (ISP for the Trial)

and FTTH trial participants, including representives from PA FiberNet, PA ComNet, the Main Library, the Art Center, and St. Elizabeth Seton School