Silicon Valley to Get Free Broadband

A group called Silicon Valley Metro Connect will provide free wireless broadband throughout 42 cities in California's Silicon Valley. (

The entire Silicon Valley is finally going to have free wireless broadband throughout 42 cities, provided by a group called Silicon Valley Metro Connect.

The group, composed of IBM, Cisco Systems, SeaKay and Azulstar, announced on Sept. 5 that its proposal to wirelessly connect the Silicon Valley had been accepted by SAMCAT (the San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority).

The Metro Connect network will be a combination of Wi-Fi and WiMax and will span 1,500 square miles. It includes six tiers of service, two of which are free.

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Metro Connect will use mesh wireless technology from Cisco and network design by IBM.

Azulstar, an ISP, will be the network operator for service provisioning of the 802.11b/g network.

SeaKay, a nonprofit, will work directly with the municipalities to enable the construction and support of the network.

"There are 42 cities that have joined onto the collaborative effort, which we find really amazing because you can never get 42 cities to do anything," said Tyler van Houweligen, CEO for Azulstar.

"Its almost like a public utility network, which is where we want to go with this. We want it to be conceived of as a public utility because it is."

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