Home Internet Mountain View looks to expand high-speed internet access

Mountain View looks to expand high-speed internet access

The city of Mountain View is conducting an assessment of broadband internet access locally. Photo by Zoe Morgan.

The city is asking community members to fill out a survey about their experiences with internet access in Mountain View, which is part of a broader city-led assessment of ways to improve local broadband service.

The city has hired the consulting firm ENTRUST Solutions to analyze potential improvements in fiber broadband coverage in Mountain View. City staff plan to bring a report and recommendations back to the City Council this fall, said Christina Gilmore, assistant to the city manager.

The study was prompted in part by the City Council naming the expansion of broadband access one of its “strategic priorities” for 2023-2025, Gilmore said. She added that there is also substantial federal and state funding available for broadband expansion.

On the federal level, there is the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, which provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access nationwide. In California, the Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative puts $3.25 billion towards building high-speed internet infrastructure. 

Federal and state grants often require that cities show their need for the money, which Gilmore said the broadband assessment can help to demonstrate.

According to Gilmore, city officials have heard anecdotally that some neighborhoods in Mountain View struggle with access to reliable and affordable broadband.

“We just don’t have a lot of information or data, so that is the genesis behind doing this community survey,” Gilmore said.

The city also plans to hold workshops and focus groups with local residents, businesses and community groups.

ENTRUST Solutions will also compile an inventory of existing broadband assets in the city, analyze the current broadband market, assess existing permitting and engineering processes related to broadband, and lay out possible models for expanding broadband, according to the city’s website.

In terms of what the possible improvements to high-speed internet access in Mountain View might be, that’s still to be determined.

“We won’t know until we have a more definitive report from the consultants that identifies where the need is and what the gaps are,” Gilmore said.

Looking at what other communities have done, Gilmore said that some have worked with private providers to build out the infrastructure needed for high-speed internet. Others have held classes for certain community groups, such as older residents, to gain computer literacy. 

There’s also the potential to work with internet providers to create opportunities to make the cost of high-speed internet more affordable, Gilmore said. Some cities have even become internet service providers themselves, she said.

Locally, Palo Alto has spent more than two-decades looking to expand its fiber network to provide internet for its residents and businesses throughout the city. For Mountain View, Gilmore stressed that the particular recommendations won’t be known until ENTRUST Solutions brings back its report and the council reviews it.

The community survey is available online in English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian. The deadline to fill it out is Sunday, June 9.

“We’re very hopeful that we’ll have a very good turnout from the community completing the survey,” Gilmore said.



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