San Benito streets aren't complete without broadband

18 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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Fiber marker.

What travels below roadways is as important to street and highway planning as what travels upon them. That’s the simple message in a complete streets policy developed and adopted in San Benito County, which is both the southernmost extension of Silicon Valley (reckoning by census bureau designations) and part of the Monterey Bay region in California.

Streets are more than just a place to drive a car…

San Benito County recognizes that roadways provide mobility and access for travelers, and serve other functions that are important to the community. Non-motorized users of roadways have mobility and access needs equal to those of motor vehicle users. Roadways may also provide opportunities for non- travel uses, such as farmer’s markets, parades, etc. In many cases, roadways also include infrastructure for water, wastewater, electric, broadband, and other utilities…

San Benito County shall implement a “dig once” policy by including provision for a full range of infrastructure main line and distribution, above and below ground, as appropriate, in initial roadway design and construction and in reconstruction projects involving more than surface pavement treatment.

It’s part of the county’s drive to attract business and create new jobs, while also trying to preserve its “rural character”, according to the current general plan. Improved telecommunications infrastructure is a key element in that effort. The county and Hollister, its largest city, are already partners in a municipal fiber network, with an eventual goal of improving middle mile connectivity back to Silicon Valley exchanges and extending its reach to areas north of the city that are targeted for industrial and commercial development.