Santa Cruz Edges Closer to Gigabit Network


The city of Santa Cruz, California is working through a long-term plan to wire the city for gigabit broadband service. Sana Cruz is working with Siklu Communication and municipal broadband provider Cruzio on the network. Serving 8,000 homes and businesses throughout Santa Cruz, the partnership brings gigabit Internet speeds to local residents, businesses and community sites.

Siklu used millimeter wave technology for the first part of the project, which took three months to deploy. Millimeter waves were previously an experimental technology that allows users to connect to fiber networks wirelessly. The technology enabling millimeter waves has recently become more economical. As CivSource previously reported, Google is also working with millimeter wave technology on a trial basis as part of several projects it has that are aimed at improving network access.

By using millimeter waves Siklu can extend the reach of the local gigabit network without having to lay fiber all the way through. Anchor institutions throughout Santa Cruz that have gigabit service will be able to extend the reach of that service with waves. The city hopes that the network could serve as a national model for providing economical gigabit-to-the-home service.

The Santa Cruz network uses Siklu mmWave radios that attach to the existing Cruzio fiber. The speed of deployment is largely the result of the ease of installation of these radios, which can attach to building facades, rooftops and poles to create a network that is able to reach all forms of residential and business buildings. The network installation allows the wireless fiber connection to bridge barriers that otherwise make the last mile of deployment the most expensive of any traditional fiber rollout.

“Being able to provide gigabit wireless services at key locations throughout the city is tremendously valuable to our community,” said City of Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews. “As a member of Next Century Cities, we believe partnerships like this one help empower communities and lets us continue as a gigabit leader.”