Thank to Jeff Hoel for providing the transcript for the episode 26 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast with Josh Wallace on the municipal utility dark fiber business in the city of Palo Alto, California. Listen to this episode here.
Lisa Gonzales: Hello, and welcome to the Community Broadband Bits podcast, brought to you by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This is Lisa Gonzales.
In our 26th episode, we talk to Josh Wallace. He works for Fiber Optics Business Development for the city of Palo Alto, California. Josh and Christopher discuss the community's extensive fiber network, and how the city uses dark fiber to offer reliable, high-capacity infrastructure to local businesses.
Josh and Chris review how the city became involved in the business of dark fiber, and Josh describes the resulting commercial relationships, and the process.
Here are Chris and Josh.
Chris Mitchell: Josh Wallace, thank you for coming on Community Broadband Bits.
Josh Wallace: Thank you very much. I appreciate your inviting me, Chris.
Chris: So I've known a little bit about Palo Alto. I know that you have a dark fiber network. I've worked with -- or, I've talked with some people from Palo Alto previously, as you've considered making other investments. But let's start at the very beginning and get a sense of why -- how you came to have a dark fiber network.
Josh: Well, in the late '90s, there was a question about whether or not we would be able to renew some of our electric contracts in an optimal way we had originally had in the late '50s. So the big search for revenue. And it was thought that maybe we would have to shore up some revenue from some renewed contracts that might not be quite as good as we hoped.
So, you know, we looked around, and we realized that at the same time that we could connect all of our SCADA system -- our electric network control system -- with fiber optics, we could actually jump into the fiber optics business.
So essentially our business involves licensing to customers in the Palo Alto area a surplus fiber optic telecommunications system. It takes a couple of fiber strands to connect the SCADA system. So...Read more