Letter From Debby Barry

A recent letter to the editor inquired about the status of Citywide WiFi in Santa Clara. It continues to be a work in progress that will expand to new neighborhoods in the next six months.

Free community WiFi access was introduced into the southern portion of Santa Clara by a private company, MetroFi, several years ago. When that business closed in 2008, Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the City’s municipal electric utility, acquired the network and used it to test remote-read electric metering technology. We refer to it as the City’s Metro WiFi Network, although its specific use is to support the Electric Utility’s “SVP Meter Connect” program.

This year, SVP will begin replacing MetroFi’s older radios with newer equipment. SVP’s aim is to upgrade its communications infrastructure to support the new remote metering program and other advanced utility applications. The good news is that the existing WiFi system will provide a more advanced system that covers a much larger portion of Santa Clara, including most outdoor residential areas. However, since it is an outdoor network, a WiFi router will help boost the signal and improve access. Free public WiFi access points are also available at City libraries and many businesses throughout the community.