Morgan Hill considers broadband roadmap to catch Silicon Valley

3 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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The City of Morgan Hill, on the edge of Silicon Valley just south of San Jose, does not share its usually good and occasionally excellent broadband infrastructure. Unlike most of the San Francisco Bay Area, which is largely served by AT&T and Comcast, Morgan Hill’s telecom infrastructure is owned by Frontier Communications and Charter Communications, and performs significantly below the Californian average.

Tellus Venture Associates recently completed a telecoms infrastructure element for Morgan Hill’s general plan update. The research, analysis and recommendations were presented to the City Council last night.

Overall, Morgan Hill’s broadband infrastructure gets a “D” grade – 1.0 out of 4.0 on a rating scale originally developed by Tellus Venture Associates for the East Bay Broadband Consortium. By comparison, cities in the Silicon Valley region generally get grades in the “C” to “C-” range, indicating that broadband infrastructure is at or near average for communities in California.

Two online surveys and a workshop conducted during the research phase of the project show that the infrastructure analysis jibes with local perceptions of the broadband service that’s available…

The primary market research conducted for this report indicates that residential and business broadband use and expectations differ in Morgan Hill, but in either case there is a significant amount of dissatisfaction with the choices available.

The City has the greatest amount of influence over greenfield and new or major remodelled infill development, and over work performed in the public right of way. By establishing clear broadband-related requirements for these kinds of projects, the City can encourage the construction of facilities that will support upgraded infrastructure.

The report details a broad range of options available to the City of Morgan Hill or most any other California city, including wireless facilities, planning, dig once, asset management, permitting, smart city, regulatory and operational policy.

The top line recommendation of the report is for the City of Morgan Hill to take a proactive approach to broadband infrastructure development, both by implementing specific policies and generally “for the City to articulate its role in broadband infrastructure planning and development, establish goals and adopt a phased approach to reaching those goals”.

Download City of Morgan Hill 2035 General Plan – Telecommunications Infrastructure here.