Today we hosted the second regional East Bay Air Quality Consortium, an ad hoc group of people, organizations, and governmental interests, to explore creating a formal community consortium on air quality monitoring. Lit San Leandro organized the first two meetings with help from Kaiser and the City. Both meetings had amazing attendance, from the offices of Supervisor Nate Miley, the Governor, Alameda County, our fair City, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Kaiser Permanente, OSIsoft, and more.

We have two great reasons to support this effort. First, the project is likely to start with schools, and the kids with respiratory problems that attend them. We may be part of the effort to connect the schools to our network that can help collect and analyze the data, and deliver warnings (like a personal “spare the air” day) to bring inhalers or play indoors on a particular day. Since Kaiser is part of our loose consortium and would like to see their member kids “thrive,” they like this idea too.

Our second reason is that as a US Ignite community, we’d love the opportunity to connect with one of the Gigabit Application projects centered in Dallas, Tx. That team has extensive access to NASA’s satellite and monitor data going back to 1997. They also have an interest in making sense of current data in a historical context. Think of this: what if we could collect our local data, then send it via our gigabit fiber to TX and back in “real time” to get an alert or a picture of what our City looks like relative to the rest of the nation or world? Amazing!

We will keep you informed as we know more.

We like to think our fiber loop is unique and amazing, and it is! The combination of foresight by prior City Councils and San Leandro government, and a timely opportunity and offer by Pat Kennedy allowed us to open our door to the future. We now have over 100 businesses connected to our fiber network.

Many other cities may also have a similar opportunity that’s closer at hand than they realize, despite Incumbent-backed state laws that appear to forestall the options. For example, many have fiber strands or available conduit that are already in the ground, thus offering one step into a viable gigabit future. In a timely op-ed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, these Mayors call on other cities to weigh in with the FCC:

Today, however, we are at a critical juncture, as the Federal Communications Commission works to craft new rules as to how the Internet will be regulated. We stand for transparency and believe that all data on the Internet should be treated equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment or mode of communication. We feel that innovation relies on a free and open Internet, one that does not allow for individual arrangements for priority treatment, also known as paid prioritization.

And so this weekend – during the U.S. Conference of Mayors 82nd Annual Meeting in Dallas – we will present our colleagues with a resolution calling on the FCC to fulfill its existing congressional mandate and to issue rules that preserve free and open communications channels for all.

In their story, Neutrality Begins At Home: What U.S. Mayors Can Do Right Now to Support a Neutral Internet, the EFF has a great description of this situation and what other cities can do to take action. You may be in such a city with a door before you and a Mayor who will stand up and help open that door. If so, support and urge your Mayor and city government to move beyond “broadband” to a fiber-based gigabit Internet.

US Ignite, which we’re very proud to be a member community of, is holding its annual Application Summit this month. What’s a US Ignite App Summit?

US Ignite’s Application Summit is the premier event showcasing the need for advanced networks. During the Summit we will present innovations that are only possible when homes, offices, schools, libraries, hospitals and other community institutions are interconnected by advanced high speed broadband networks.

We’ve written many times [e..g, Who will Benefit?, and our 7-part Do We Need GigE series, etc.] on why we care so passionately about our fiber network. The US Ignite App Summit will feature a range of demos illustrating the need for fiber speed.

The agenda, still in the works, is intriguing. We’re excited to be participating. Our City’s CIO, Debbie Acosta, will be on a panel, and we’ll be working with one of the most amazing teams on a project that involves our fair community and the East Bay. We’ll have more on this in a future post.