Wireless Communications Initiative

What are we doing?

Joint Venture’s Wireless Communications Initiative is a coalition between the wireless industry, local governments, businesses, and residents working together to improve the wireless network infrastructure in Silicon Valley. The coalition builds on existing relationships with technology companies and local government leaders to drive a coordinated public-private sector effort and mounts a highly strategic campaign to transform Silicon Valley’s wireless network infrastructure into a world-class showcase of speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Focus Areas:

  • Emerging Technologies – IMT-2020 (5G), CBRS, IoT, LTE-MTC, D2D, V2V.
  • Carrier Telecommunications – Cellular Voice and 3G/4G Mobile Data, Small Cells, DAS, CPRI/CRAN, HetNets, and Self-Organizing Networks.
  • Unlicensed Wireless Networks – Wi-Fi, LTE-U, LAA, LWA, MulteFire, non-traditional carrier models (Wi-Fi First, Wi-Fi Only).
  • Connected City / Smart City – Municipal and Public Venue wireless, Internet of Things (IoT), Camouflage & Aesthetic antennas.
  • Backhaul Technologies – Wireless (sub 6 GHz, 60/70/80 GHz, licensed and unlicensed), Gig-E, Fiber.
  • Public Safety – SAFECOM Interoperability, Analog & Digital Narrowband, Radio-over-IP, FirstNet, Wireless E-911.

Our Strategies:

  • Educate Public and Private Sector Stakeholders – Identify key stakeholders in cities/counties and educate them on technology and trends in the wireless industry. Similarly, educate the wireless industry on how to partner and work with cities/counties.
  • Locate New Technologies – Identify early-stage companies with compelling technology, and bring those companies to the attention of the consortium.
  • Promote Model Ordinances and Processes – Work with cities/counties to provide best practices and guidelines for developing wireless deployment ordinances that encourage innovation and deployment.
  • Heightened Advocacy in Local Jurisdictions – Provide a strong regional voice speaking to the competitive and economic implications of a robust wireless network infrastructure.
  • Expand Coalition – Find common ground and encourage dialog between local governments, businesses, technology companies and the wireless industry and build coalitions to improve our regional wireless networks.

Why are we doing it?

World-class wireless networks are key to robust economic development, are an important component in attracting and retaining the world's best talent, and are increasingly a key tool for ensuring public safety as citizens transition away from landline telephones - nearly half of U.S. households are now wireless-only. While our economic growth is the envy of the world, unfortunately our wireless networks are anything but. Dead zones, slow data, and dropped voice calls are not uncommon. Visitors from outside the area are often surprised that Silicon Valley's wireless networks aren't more robust - after all, most wireless technology is developed right here. The reasons for this problem are complex, but in general they're rooted in the way that companies interact and partner with local governments. To remain competitive and foster innovation, the Wireless Communications Initiative provides education and works to build public-private partnerships so we can deploy world-class wireless networks.

Why do we have this problem?

Wireless networks are now carrying enormous amounts of data traffic: In 2014 global mobile data traffic was 8 Exabytes-per-month, and is projected to grow to 71 Exabytes-per-month by 2020. We are placing ever-increasing demands on our RF spectrum, a limited yet critical resource for wireless networks. Our current economic boom is being driven by the Mobile Economy - smartphones, apps, and the services enabled by them. Unfortunately, our wireless networks are not keeping pace. The proliferation of smartphones and connected devices requiring wireless data is pushing existing infrastructure beyond its limits, yet the process of obtaining permits and negotiating contracts to deploy systems is complex and time-consuming. We need better networks, faster and more efficient technologies, and we need to remove obstacles to deployment so companies with innovative technologies can deploy networks that will feed our appetite for wireless data.

Who's involved?

Joint Venture Board Champion: Dave Hodson, Partner, Director of Development - Cloud Engineering, Skype (a division of Microsoft)

Co-Chair: Dr. Edwin Tasch, Chief of Neurology - Santa Clara Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente
Co-Chair: Jon Walton, Chief Information Officer, County of San Mateo

Our project is guided by a Steering Committee consisting of:

  • Jon Dohm, Zoning Manager - West Area, Crown Castle
  • Natasha Ernst, Asst. General Counsel - Access, Lightower Fiber Networks
  • Kathleen Boutté Foster, Chief Information Officer, City of Sunnyvale
  • Lennies Gutierrez, Director of Government Affairs, Comcast
  • Jacob Hamilton, Director - Engineering, Verizon Wireless
  • William Hammett, P.E., President & CEO, Hammett & Edison
  • Mike Hill, Municipal Relations, ExteNet Systems
  • Sharon James, Manager Government Relations, Crown Castle
  • Roger Jensen, Chief Information Officer, City of Mountain View
  • Robert Jystad, Managing Partner, Channel Law Group LLP
  • Stan Ketchum, Senior Planner, City of Gilroy
  • Angela Kung, External Affairs Manager, AT&T Wireless
  • John Lang, Economic Development, City of Morgan Hill
  • Rob Lloyd, Chief Information Officer, City of San José
  • William McShane, National Director - Connected City Experience, Philips Lighting
  • Heather Tannehill-Plamondon, Executive Director, SVRIA
  • Jonathan Reichental, Ph.D, Chief Information Officer, City of Palo Alto
  • Randall Schwabacher, Manager - Small Cell Deployment NorCal, AT&T Wireless
  • Glen Williams, Asset Development Manager, County of Santa Clara
  • George Wong, Director of Business Development, Qualcomm

Latest Developments

  • Jun 2016: Received a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey to provide support for the Haywired Earthquake Scenario.
  • May 2016: Moderated a panel at the International Microwave Symposium in San Francisco CA.
  • Apr 2016: Participated as a panelist at the Wireless West 2016 conference in Anaheim CA.
  • Apr 2016: Participated on the "Connecting Our Communities" panel at the 47th Annual Progress Seminar.
  • Mar 2016: Presented on trends in wireless technology to the Silicon Valley chapter of the American Public Works Association.
  • Mar 2016: Launched an education seminar series targeted at helping municipal employees keep up with trends in wireless communications standards and technology.
  • Jan 2016: Hosted a workshop with the U.S. Geological Survey on communications aspects of their Haywired earthquake scenario.
  • Nov 2015: Moderated a panel at the Radio Club of America's Technical Symposium on the topic of LTE Unlicensed in the 5 GHz U-NII bands. View the video.
  • Nov 2015: Participated in the Telecom Infrastructure Roundtable at City of Morgan Hill to discuss communications elements feeding into the General Plan Update.
  • Apr 2014: Third Annual Broadband & Wireless Roundtable held at the Cupertino Community Hall. Panelists included Sunnyvale Vice-Mayor Jim Davis, David Vossbrink from San Jose, Marc Blakeman from AT&T, and Doug Nolan from Comcast. The Roundtable focused on how communities can be “Fiber Ready” for new and improved broadband networks. There was also an update on the current rule-making proceeding at the Federal Communications Commission. View the presentation slides.
  • Filed Comments at the Federal Communications Commission for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Docket 13-238 covering 4 areas: Distributed Antenna System (DAS)/Small Cell Regulatory Reform, Temporary Tower Regulatory Reform, Section 6409 ("Collocation by right"), and Input on the 2009 Declaratory Ruling (“Shot Clock”). View the comments.

Upcoming Public Appearances

  • Panelist: "Spotlight on Government Regulation", TC3 / Telecom Council Carrier Connections, Sept 28th - 29th 2016 Info & Registration.
  • Moderator: "Smart Cities & Regions – The Case for Interoperability", Chief Digital Officer Global Forum, Oct 19th 2016 Info & Registration.
  • Speaker: "Smart Cities, a Regional Strategy", Embedded Systems Conference, Dec 6th - 8th 2016 Info & Registration.

What are the next steps?

  • We will be recruiting additional members for the Initiative, and will seek new solutions from within Silicon Valley's robust technology ecosystem.
  • Technology companies, employees of local governments, businesses, and residents can contact us to find out more about the Initiative and factors affecting regional wireless networks.
  • We will be contributing to open State and Federal proceedings in order to support changes in law that will encourage faster, cheaper, and more wireless and broadband infrastructure.
  • Seminars, Roundtables, and Symposiums will be hosted on a regular basis to provide education and a forum for coalition-building.
  • We will meet regularly with elected officials to show how world-class wireless networks can have a positive impact on Silicon Valley’s economic vitality and competitiveness.
  • Steering Committee meetings are held every six weeks.

Where do I find out more?

To learn more about the Initiative, to request a briefing, or to inquire about membership please contact:

David Witkowski

Wireless Communications Objective

Joint Venture's Wireless Communications Initiative brings together the wireless industry, technology companies, local governments, businesses, and residents to improve wireless networks in the Silicon Valley.

Wireless Initiative Partners

  • AT&T Mobility
  • California Wireless Association
  • City of Gilroy
  • City of Morgan Hill
  • City of Mountain View
  • City of Palo Alto
  • City of San José
  • City of Sunnyvale
  • Comcast
  • County of San Mateo
  • County of Santa Clara
  • Crown Castle
  • ExteNet Systems
  • Hammett & Edison
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Lightower Fiber Networks
  • Mobile Experts LLC
  • Philips
  • Qualcomm
  • SVRIA
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Wireless Communications Alliance

Wireless Publications

Mobile Data Usage

Mobile data usage will exceed 71 Exabytes per month by the year 2020.

MEXP Global bar chart

Source: Mobile Experts LLC