Working Together to Improve Local Broadband

Mark Morgenthaler

Surfnet, Mountain Network News, and Silver Mountain Winery are providing a vital new fiber connection for the Santa Cruz Mountains. This means higher internet speeds for Surfnet customers as we upgrade our existing wireless network. Users will learn more as the new system becomes available in each neighborhood.

Surfnet has already developed a network of over 35 access points for wireless internet to communities throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. Our APs are strategically located to provide the best coverage for these areas, and are interconnected to major data centers. Internet services are better and ten times more affordable in San Jose, so Surfnet collects traffic from our APs and provides wireless transmission to Tier one data centers in San Jose. As customer demand has increased, we’ve added capacity using multiple dishes located along Highway 35 and on both sides of the Lexington Basin. We’ve wanted this local fiber option for years, but access was unavailable or unaffordable.

Surfnet Communications eco standing in front of tower in the Santa Cruz Mountains area.

Three years ago, we worked with the Toeniskoetter family to build a fourth link from one of their fiber-ready buildings in Scotts Valley to the Silver Mountain Winery owned by Gerald O’Brien. This is one of our main wireless AP sites. That link provides the entire network with additional capacity and a redundant AT&T option. The Toeniskoetter’s site has been very helpful, but we were reaching maximum capacity.

Three years ago, we worked with the Toeniskoetter family to build a fourth link from one of their fiber-ready buildings in Scotts Valley to the Silver Mountain Winery owned by Gerald O’Brien. This is one of our main wireless AP sites. That link provides the entire network with additional capacity and a redundant AT&T option. The Toeniskoetter’s site has been very helpful, but we were reaching maximum capacity.

About two years ago, due to continued pressure from Surfnet and U.C., Santa Cruz, a critical fiber running along Highway 17 was upgraded as part of a regional project that began in 2012. About one year ago, after that fiber was commissioned, we talked to Neil Wiley about the new fiber that went by the Mountain Network News offices, and offered a short line-of-site to Gerald’s Silver Mountain Winery for an 80 gigahertz line. Three months ago, Surfnet began engineering the new AP site. Our Christmas present was an 80 GHz link between Mountain Network News and Silver Mountain Winery that allows us to distribute additional capacity to our existing customers.

Our efforts to attract government assistance to support broadband projects have been frustrated by legal challenges from major carriers and regulatory delays. Collaborating with small businesses and community-minded landowners has made a difference. For 15 years, our local AP owners have helped us improve broadband in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s been a privilege working with them. We thank them all.

We wish everyone in the mountain community a Happy New Year.

This Article has been provided by Mountain Network News
www.MNN.net