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WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS INITIATIVE

What Are We Doing?

Joint Venture’s Wireless Communication Initiative is a collaboration between the wireless industry, local governments, businesses and residents working to improve the wireless infrastructure in Silicon Valley and eliminate dead spots. The consortium builds on existing relationships with local governments to lead a coordinated public-private sector effort and mounts a highly strategic campaign to transform Silicon Valley’s wireless data and communications infrastructure.

Our Goal:

Faster, cheaper, and more wireless and broadband connectivity in Silicon Valley.

Our Strategies:

  • Educate Public and Private Sector Stakeholders – Identify key stakeholders in cities and educate them on the critical issues affecting the growth of the wireless industry. Similarly, educate the wireless industry on how to partner with cities.
  • Promote Model Ordinances and Processes – Work with cities to provide best practices and guidelines for developing model wireless deployment ordinances.
  • Heighten Our Advocacy in the Local Jurisdictions – Provide a strong regional voice speaking to the competitive and economic implications of a robust wireless infrastructure.
  • Expand Coalition – Find creative synergies between local governments, business, and the wireless industry and build coalitions to improve wireless broadband connectivity.

Why Are We Doing It?

Concerns regarding the wireless infrastructure have become even more urgent given the evolution of “smart phones” and other mobile devices that demand greater bandwidth. Mobile networks in North America are filled to 80 percent of capacity, with 36 percent of base stations facing capacity constraints, according to a survey by investment bank Credit Suisse. Many of the smart devices and the applications that run on these networks have been designed by companies right here in Silicon Valley. The success of these technologies will affect the economic prospects of the region. Furthermore, the new services will increasingly be critical to the way we do business and communicate.

To be an innovative region, Silicon Valley needs a robust and reliable wireless network. Unfortunately, we don’t have one. This hurts our economy and our competitive position, and it even poses threats to our safety.

Why Do We Have This Problem?

Basically speaking, we have this problem because our use of wireless devices has increased exponentially, and the infrastructure is not keeping pace. The proliferation of smart phones and other mobile devices requiring wireless broadband is pushing existing infrastructure beyond its limits, so network are no longer always reliable to keep call connectivity or process data quickly.

Meanwhile, wireless communication growth continues unabated. From CTIA’s 2012 Year End Survey:

  • We have currently 326.4 million subscribers in the U.S.
  • Annual wireless minutes exceeded 2.3 trillion along with 1.468 trillion MB of data and 2.19 trillion text messages.
  • Users are making approximately 400,000 E-911 calls daily across the U.S.
  • Over 35% of the U.S. households are wireless only.

A concerted coalition-led effort is needed to improve our infrastructure and solve the problem of insufficient wireless connectivity in Silicon Valley.

Who's Involved?

Joint Venture Board Champion: Minnie Ingersoll, Product Manager, Google

Co-Chair: Pete Constant, San Jose City Counsel

Co-Chair: Dr. Edwin Tasch, Chief of Neurology, Santa Clara Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente

Our project is guided by a Steering Committee Council consisting of:

  • David Casas, VP Community and Government Relations, Intero Real Estate
  • Eric Reed, Vice President – Entertainment & Tech Policy, Verizon
  • Bruce Knopf, Director, Santa Clara County Office of Asset and Economic Development
  • Sharon James, Manager Government Relations, Crown Castle
  • Jon Dohm, Zoning Manager West Area, Crown Castle
  • David Witowski, Wireless Communications Alliance
  • Gary Waldeck, City of Los Altos Hills
  • Leon Beauchman, AT&T
  • Angela D’Anna, External Affairs, AT&T
  • Lennies Guiterrez, Comcast
  • Bill Stephens, Municipal Relations, Extenet Systems
  • Randall Schwabacher, AT&T, Small Cell Deployment
  • Rod De La Rosa, Senior Manager External Affairs, T-Mobile

Latest Developments

  • Panel at the League of California Cities annual conference on September 19, 2013: “Wireless World: Partnering to Build a 21st Century Infrastructure," with Mountain View councilmember Mike Kasperzak, AT&T regional vice president Marc Blakeman, former Los Altos mayor David Casas, and Natasha Ernst, director of the Initiative.
  • Wireless Symposium scheduled for October 17, 2013 at the San Jose Convention Center in concert with CTIA’s MobileCON. Sessions will focus on Wireless Industry Trends, Tower Safety, Radio Frequency Science & Measurement, Mobile Innovation, The Positive Economic Impact of Wireless, and Small Cell Deployment.
  • Collaborated with cities and the California Wireless Association to present Wireless Workshops that assisted in informing local elected officials about wireless technology issues.
  • Launched Coalition for a 21st Century Wireless Infrastructure whose purpose is to advocate for policies and programs that promote investment.
  • Published editorials in local newspapers that created greater awareness of the challenges involved in upgrading the local wireless network.
  • Held meetings with city council members and county supervisors to gain support for wireless technology deployment.
  • Supported the approval of wireless facility applications before Planning Commissions and City Councils with testimony and letters.

What Are The Next Steps?

We will be recruiting additional members for the Coalition for a 21st Century Infrastructure. Organizations can contact WCI if they’re interested in having a presentation about the Initiative and the future of wireless communications.

Wireless Workshops will be presented in local jurisdictions. The Workshops provide an opportunity to share information about the evolution of the wireless industry and its prospective impact on Silicon Valley. In addition, the public is encouraged to provide its input which is generally supportive of greater investment in our wireless infrastructure.

The Silicon Valley Wireless Education Fund will be seeking additional investors to fund contributions to develop innovative wireless applications for our local schools.

Steering Committee Meetings – Steering Committee meetings are usually held Wednesday mornings every six weeks.

Where Do I Find Out More?

To learn more about the initiative, or to join the team, contact:

Natasha Ernst
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Joint Venture's Wireless Communications Initiative brings together wireless service providers, cities, businesses and users to improve wireless service in the Valley.

Wireless Publications

Cell Phone Usage

Minutes of Cell Phone Use in the U.S. Exceeded 2.275 Trillion in 2009, a 3.3%  year-over-year growth

Source: CTIA, the Wireless Association, www.ctia.org

Wireless Initiative Partners

  • AT&T
  • Comcast
  • Crown Castle
  • Extenet Systems
  • Intero Real Estate
  • City of Los Altos Hills
  • Santa Clara County Office of Asset and Economic Development
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon
  • Wireless Communications Alliance