Thursday, December 1, 2011

Comcast Invests in Downtown San Mateo

Earlier this week, Comcast announced a large investment in Downtown San Mateo to build a high-speed communications infrastructure.  Here are two articles about this wonderful investment for our City. 

Downtown San Mateo to go digital  
December 01, 2011, 03:22 AM
By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

Downtown San Mateo will become a hotbed for bandwidth junkies next year as Comcast has committed to radically upgrade the broadband network in the city’s underground utility district.

The “Digital Downtown” concept was developed by the Economic Development Growth Enterprise, or the EDGE, an initiative of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce.

The EDGE approached several broadband providers late last year to bring higher-speed broadband downtown and Comcast was the only provider willing to invest the capital, said EDGE President Corey Geiger.

The point of the project is to give high-tech companies, particularly startups, the tools they need to stay in business. After startups YouTube and AdMob relocated out of downtown San Mateo, chamber officials started scratching their heads, wondering what the chamber could do to keep such companies from leaving the city.

“We’ve been an incubator for high-tech companies, startups especially, and this will help us be competitive with any city in the United States to attract and keep these businesses in downtown,” Mayor Jack Matthews told the Daily Journal yesterday.

Downtown is vibrant, Matthews said, and already attracts startups.

“All this is happening even without the upgrade,” Matthews said.

The EDGE and Comcast have worked with downtown businesses, property owners and city officials to ensure that the project will deliver the maximum benefit to downtown while minimizing any impacts to the underground utility district.

As a result, hundreds of businesses, from medical offices to high-tech companies, will now have access to Comcast’s business-class offerings, which will be delivered over a state-of-the-art optical fiber backbone.
The expansion aims to allow for download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 10 megabits per second. Bandwidth up to 10 gigabits per second will be available for businesses with the largest data needs.

Attorney Paul Barulich, with an office downtown, said the growth of his practice has been limited, in part, by a lack of good telecommunications infrastructure.

The underground fiber optics network Comcast will install will make it easier for Barulich’s office to serve its clients and grow, he said.

The chamber worked closely with the Downtown San Mateo Association initially to engage property owners on the proposal, Geiger said.

“DSMA is thrilled that high-speed broadband is finally coming,” said President Kris Cesena. “We have played a small role in part by having representation in the EDGE’s meetings regarding this endeavor. It’s becoming apparent that high-tech companies like the idea of locating in San Mateo and especially downtown because of our location on the Peninsula.”

High-speed broadband is a prerequisite to establishing and growing new business downtown, said Linda Asbury, president of the chamber.

Work should start on the project in January, Geiger said, and should be completed by spring. Comcast will essentially equip each property downtown with fiber-optics that can then be accessed by businesses, he said.

It is a forward-looking concept, Geiger said, in which other cities have already taken an interest.

This could become a model for other cities to follow, he said.

Comcast Investment in Downtown San Mateo Highlights City of San Mateo's Continued Emergence as the Place to Be for Business

SAN MATEO, Calif., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- San Mateo City Councilmember David Lim responded to the news of Comcast's investment in Downtown San Mateo with praise for Comcast and the San Mateo business community in forging their ground-breaking partnership. 

"The latest news confirms the continued growth of the City of San Mateo as a hub for high tech businesses in the Silicon Valley region," said San Mateo City Councilmember David Lim.  

Lim added, "Comcast's unprecedented investment in communications infrastructure for Downtown San Mateo, along with San Mateo's central proximity to San Francisco, San Jose, and the 92, 101, and 280 corridors make the City of San Mateo uniquely positioned to meet the needs of every business well into the 21st century." 

Comcast's announcement comes on the heels of a report issued by the Silicon Valley-San Jose Business Journal on October 14 that one-third of Silicon Valley's top 51 fastest growing private companies are in San Mateo County.  

Of the 16 San Mateo County companies listed in the report, 50% of them are located in the City of San Mateo, including Marketo Inc., VSS Monitoring, Movoto LLC, Intelepeer Inc., Guidance Software, EPIC Insurance Brokers, ClickMail Marketing Inc., and The Mice Groups Inc.  

Lim praised Comcast and the business community in San Mateo for their partnership.  The business community in San Mateo was led by an economic development and growth initiative of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce known as "The EDGE".

Lim noted, "The City invested start-up funds of $75,000 to The EDGE in June of this year.  The Comcast investment in infrastructure to the City more than returns our investment to The EDGE, but the potential business tax revenue that will be generated for years to come from this project will help all residents with things such as investment in public safety and street repair.  When businesses thrive in our community, all our neighborhoods benefit.  I am pleased to support innovative organizations like Comcast, The EDGE, and the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce." 

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