Wireless Silicon Valley project officially launched

You would think that bringing WiFi to Silicon Valley would be like, say, bringing coal to Newcastle or tea to China. The fact is, things have not been that easy or smooth for the Wireless Silicon Valley project. Could be that this is changing, as last Friday, several Valley big hitters signed a gold-colored wireless Internet transmitter as part of an elaborate launching ceremony for the project. It is an ambitious project, too: aiming to one of the largest hot zones in the world, stretching from Santa Cruz County to Alameda County, and covering most of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. If plans unfold on schedule and on budget--and the "if" should be the size of the Hollywood sign on top of Mount Lee--then every city within that area will have free WiFi access.

The organization behind the project is Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, an association of cities and business leaders in the region. It is finalizing an agreement which the 40 cities in the Valley can sign with Silicon Valley Metro Connect, a consortium led by IBM and Cisco Systems. Metro Connect won a competitive bid to offer the regional wireless service. The service will be paid for by advertising to individual customers and subscription fees paid by government agencies and organizations such as hospitals which want the use the premium service.

For more on the Wireless Silicon Valley Project
- see Will Oremus's Palo Alto Daily News report 
- the project's Web site
- and this press release

ALSO: Mountain View-based MetroFi was hoping to make Concord the first East Bay city to have a muni-WiFi network, but the project got off to a rocky start. Report