Anyone who's tried to tap intoÂ wireless internet in downtown San Jose knows that the city's ballyhooed Wickedly Fast Wi-FiÂ fails to live up to its name. Facebook has offered to change that.
San Jose this week teamed up with theÂ social media giantÂ to turbocharge the city's free wi-fi network.Â Using a new technology called Terragraph, Facebook will strengthen the existing wireless signalÂ enough to circumvent buildings, crowds and other physical barriers.
The technology has been tested on Facebook's Menlo Park campus. City officials say they're poised to launch the downtown pilot later this year.
Below is the city's full press release:
City of San Jose and Facebook Connectivity Lab to Partner on Gigabit-Speed Distribution Network for High-Speed WiFi Project
The City of San JosÃ© and Facebook announced today a public-private partnership to deploy an innovative wireless distribution network to support an open, publicly accessible, gigabit-speed outdoor WiFi network to be deployed in Downtown San JosÃ© in late 2016.
âCities worldwide are searching for ways to ensure that all residents can enjoy the benefits of internet connectivity by broadening access to fast and affordable broadband service,â said Mayor Sam Liccardo. âSan JosÃ© is proud to work with a global tech leader like Facebook to pilot a next-generation technology that can help us achieve these goals and support research to support communities around the world.â
âChallenges attaining fast, reliable wireless internet can be found anywhere, even in the heart of Silicon Valley,â said Tim Danford, Facebookâs Network Deployment Product Lead âTerragraph is a Facebook Connectivity Lab project that seeks to bring fast, reliable and inexpensive connectivity to dense urban areas and we are excited to have the City of San JosÃ© as our first partner to showcase this technology later this year.â
Facebookâs Terragraph wireless system utilizes distribution nodes to connect high-speed fiber, and send it to other distribution nodes throughout the downtown area using 60 GHz (also known as âV-bandâ). And, by utilizing commercial off-the-shelf components and leveraging the cloud for intensive data processing, the Terragraph system is optimized for high volume, low cost production. Read about the technical details of the Terragraph system
The City and Facebook will work together on a research pilot deployment of the Terragraph network that is street-level Wi-Fi and open to the public. Through the public-private partnership, Facebook will provide the hardware and software for the Terragraph system, and the City will provide access to its streetlights and other related infrastructure needed to build-out the network.
Facebook chose San JosÃ© due to its existing free Wi-Fi infrastructure downtown and its willingness to become a demonstration city to showcase new technologies.
The Terragraph research project is aligned to one of the main pillars of the Mayorâs San JosÃ©âs Smart City Vision, which the City Council adopted earlier this year. The plan seeks to demonstrate new technologies, while using big data analytics and other digital tools to improve city services and the quality of life for residents in San Jose. The planâs goal is to transform San JosÃ© into the most innovative city in America by 2020.
âThis project is yet another example of San JosÃ©âs commitment to becoming a true âDemonstration Cityâ and deploying the latest innovations and technologies in ways that can significantly benefit our community,â said Shireen Santosham, Mayor Liccardoâs Director of Innovation. âWe look forward to expanding on our partnerships with the private sector to ensure weâre continually improving the ways in which we serve the public.â
The initial research trial deployment of the Terragraph distribution network will focus on the Downtown San JosÃ© core, with a targeted launch for late 2016. The City of San JosÃ© and Facebook are also exploring plans for deployments in underserved San Jose neighborhoods and transit innovation corridors.
âThe future deployment of this advanced network will open up new opportunities to our residents, businesses and entrepreneurs,â continued Mayor Liccardo. âAnd because weâre piloting this network right here in the heart of Silicon Valley, I am also excited to see how our innovative community can leverage and build upon this deployment to advance the next big idea.â