San Jose Mercury News has a great story by Rebecca Parr:
San Leandro entices tech startups, entrepreneurs
SAN LEANDRO — This small town between Oakland and Hayward is coming out of the downturn like few places around, attracting tech startups, artists and brewers to a onetime traditional industrial hub.
“San Leandro is embracing change for the first time in decades,” said Deborah Acosta, the city’s first innovation officer.
The boom is the result of a happy convergence of action and resources — available long-vacant or underused manufacturing sites; a businessman who financed a fiber optic loop in city-owned conduit and the city jumping into a public-private partnership with him, the first of its kind in the Bay Area; and using broadband to lure tech firms.
The radio program Marketplace ran a nice story by Aaron Mendelson about San Leandro in their Tech section today.
Wannabe tech cities need angel investors, too
The suburb of San Leandro sits just east of Oakland, California, within striking distance of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Underneath the city lies a loop of ultrafast fiber optic cable known as Lit San Leandro. Data speeds through these cables about 2,000 times faster than a typical internet hookup.
The cable exists because of one guy: Pat Kennedy.
Kennedy runs OSIsoft, a company based in San Leandro. A few years ago, he was looking to expand, but he wanted the kind of infrastructure he saw in towns like Palo Alto. So he put down $3 million of his own money to make it happen in his backyard.
“The reason I did it is that I’ve actually been a 40-year resident of San Leandro,” Kennedy says.
It became clear to him that industrial cities like his were never going to be top picks for things like broadband or fiber. “We’re really going to suffer as a result,” Kennedy says.
The City of San Leandro has published its latest “Creating Great Places” brochure [PDF] to highlight the development and progress going on in town. This is their updated map. You’ll note that the extensions are well underway.
We will have another update this fall on our progress in this exciting work.
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!