Santa Clara City Desk
By Carolyn Schuk

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Free Wireless Broadband Makes Santa Clara Better Place to Live and Do Business

Silicon Valley Power is preparing to roll out Santa Clara's new municipal wireless Internet access later this year, Santa Clara Free WiFi. The new system offers many significant advantages over the existing network, originally built by MetroFi several years ago.

That system never reached the entire city and was limited to outdoor use. Santa Clara FreeWiFi will work citywide, indoors as well as outdoors. A new, high-density design will provide up to 40 access points per square mile - compared with less than 30 access points for the MetroFi system.

This means that all Santa Clara residents, businesses, and visitors will have reliable, high speed Internet access. One important advantage is a continuous connection - you won't see the network drop as you do now when you move around.

Another benefit is that Santa Clara Free WiFi will deliver better performance on low-power devices such as smartphones. Users will also see faster network performance - 2 Mbps, which is double the speed of the MetroFi system.

Santa Clara FreeWiFi builds on the city-owned fiber optic network to carry communications back to the rest of the Internet. This significantly increases the efficiency of traffic flow and reduces network bottlenecks.

And this just gives businesses and events one more good reason to locate in Santa Clara.

Bay Guardian Praises Santa Clara's Publicly-Owned Electric Utility

It's not often that San Francisco newspapers have anything good to say about Santa Clara. But a few weeks ago, while lambasting San Francisco for tolerating PG&E's aging infrastructure, a Bay Guardian (www.sfbg.com) editorial had this to say about Santa Clara's municipal power system:

"Rates are lower, blackouts are unheard of and the equipment is well maintained. Compare that to PG&E, where company executives diverted gas line maintenance money to pay themselves bonuses, and you see why San Francisco, which relies on the private monopoly, has a problem."

"At some point, San Francisco residents are going to have to pay to rebuild this system," the editorial concluded. "They can pay through higher PG&E rates...or they can begin the process of creating a municipal utility, which can do the job right, bring down rates and improve the business climate that the mayor so loves to discuss."

Back in the 1960s, Santa Clara mayor Gary Gillmor tried to persuade the City of San Francisco to establish a municipal power company. As we know, San Francisco dismissed the brash young South Bay mayor's advice.

Let SCU Entertain You: Steve Wozniak on the Agenda Jan. 26

From fascinating Silicon Valley history to easy-to-like entertainment, Santa Clara University is serving up a slew of interesting events in the next few months, with something for every interest - and all accessible without fighting freeway traffic.

On January 26 philanthropist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will offer one-of-a-kind perspective on the history of the PC in his talk, "From Garage to Global Importance: the Rise of the PC." Wozniak will be speaking at SCU's Mayer Theater at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, 2011. Tickets are $25. For information visit www.scu.edu/events/index.cfm?event=17982, call (408) 554-5124, or email Allena Baker at abaker@scu.edu.

Less well-known than Wozniak but equally important in the history of engineering was Santa Clara's own John J. Montgomery - a pioneer in aviation, electrical engineering and wireless communications. Montgomery coined the term "aeroplane" and received the first patent for one in 1906.

On Feb. 21, 2012 John G. Burdick will give a free talk about this Silicon Valley forerunner at 4:00 p.m. in the St. Clare room of the Harrington Learning Commons. For more information, visit www.scu.edu/events/index.cfm?event=17982, call (408) 554-4600 or email Heidi Williams at hwilliams@scu.edu.

On Feb. 25, get your popcorn ready and enjoy some great movie music at the SCU orchestra's "Most Memorable Movie Themes Ever!" concert conducted by Emily Ray. The program includes music from Victory at Sea, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Forrest Gump, and The Simpsons. The concert is Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mission Church. Tickets are $10-$15.

Then in March, warm up for the 2012 presidential election at an evening with comedy troupe, The Capitol Steps. The Washington-based comedy group brings its wickedly funny political satire to SCU on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. in the Mayer Theater. Tickets are $20-$43. For information, visit www.scupresents.org/performances/shows/the-capitol-steps.html, call (408) 554.4015, or email cpaboxoffice@scu.edu.

Find out what's going on at SCU at www.scu.edu/events and www.scupresents.org.