As the city of Santa Cruz and local Internet service provider Cruzio bring their negotiations to a close, the parties have been working diligently to dot all the i's and cross all the t's. Announced in June 2015, this public private partnership intends to build a multi-million dollar fiber network throughout the city.
According to Cruzio's most recent blog update:
[W]e’ve been locked away in our Santa Cruz Fiber Project underground bunker with our partners at the City, engaging in high-level cogitation, extreme fine-tuning and the general hashing out of every little detail of the project and the agreement.
Local news station KION covered the benefits of faster Internet service, especially for the small business community in Santa Cruz. The news station also includes a clip from a recent “City Hall to You” community meeting where people learned more about the network.
A Small Business Town
“It's absolutely critical. Without high-speed Internet activity here, we would be dead in the water,”
Explained Susan Pappas, the owner of True Olive Connection, a local olive oil store. She described how her business would fall apart without high-speed Internet access. Everything from printers to inventory would stop working.
At the “City Hall to You” meeting, Santa Cruz Economic Development Manager J. Guevara laid out the facts, emphasizing how Internet access is not just for tech startups. High-speed Internet access makes small businesses function and helps job-seekers find employment. Guevara told KION,
“Over 82 percent of the businesses in the city of Santa Cruz are 10 or fewer employees. This is a small business town and Internet is the infrastructure that makes it all possible.”
Infrastructure from Santa Cruz and Cruzio
The $45 million dollar infrastructure project is a public-private partnership where the city will own the network and Cruzio will operate it. For the first few years, Cruzio will be the sole service provider. After that initial period, the network will become open access and other providers will be invited to offer competitive services. In December 2015, the city council unanimously voted to move ahead with the project.
Check out these Power Point slides from Guevara’s presentation in a May webinar presented by the Coalition for Local Internet Choice.