Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: 2018-5325 (20 minutes)   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 5/15/2018
Title: Recommendation to Approve Two-Year Pilot Project to Invest in a Ultra-High-Speed Broadband Network to Attract and Foster High-Tech Research and Development Companies Initially Located at Alameda Point. (Information Technology 2611)
Attachments: 1. Correspondence - Updated 5-14, 2. Presentation



Recommendation to Approve Two-Year Pilot Project to Invest in a Ultra-High-Speed Broadband Network to Attract and Foster High-Tech Research and Development Companies Initially Located at Alameda Point. (Information Technology 2611)


To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

From: Elizabeth D. Warmerdam, Acting City Manager

Recommendation to Approve Two-Year Pilot Project to Invest in a Ultra-High-Speed Broadband Network to Attract and Foster High-Tech Research and Development Companies Initially Located at Alameda Point


The City of Alameda approached the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) to cultivate a partnership to entice high-tech for-profit companies to the City to promote economic development; enhance the educational experience for high school and college students in Alameda; and collaborate with other educational institutions, nonprofits, and for-profit research and development institutions on the worldwide CENIC research network.  The CENIC project is designed to attract more high technology businesses to Alameda initially beginning at Alameda Point for a proof of concept.

CENIC is a nonprofit organization that operates the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity internet broadband network supporting over 20 million users, including students, educators, researchers and other public-serving institutions. CENIC’s Charter Associates are part of the world’s largest education system, including the California K-12 system, California Community Colleges, the California State University system, California’s Public Libraries, the University of California system, Stanford, Caltech, and USC.

As part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus package, CENIC was awarded $7.2 billion dollars to increase internet broadband network access and to connect California to the world, initially by advancing education and research statewide.  Through a contract with the California State Library, our own Alameda Free Library is on CENIC’s internet pipeline. Today, our Library has the highest level of connectivity of libraries in the country providing our patrons with access to a wide array of areas such as business, government, science, health care, and education - opportunities to engage, create, invent, and learn. 

CENIC also provides connectivity to leading institutions and industry research organizations around the world, serving as a catalyst for advancing education and research by providing access to its network for innovation, collaboration, and economic development.  Last year, the City of Los Angeles became the first large city to connect to CENIC’s 100 Gigabyte network, accessing digital resources up to 1,000 times faster than what is currently available.  Using CENIC, the City of Los Angeles partnered with University of Southern California to analyze traffic and police data and millions of identifying areas in which pedestrians and cyclists were being killed by traffic collisions.  Last November, the California High Speed Rail Authority entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CENIC enabling communities located near the rail system in the Central Valley to connect to their network.

The City of Alameda has an opportunity to connect research and development for-profit companies in the City to this high-speed CENIC network initially at Alameda Point as a 2-year proof of concept pilot project.  The companies that participate would have the potential to create partnerships with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) and/or Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), including access to their super computers, helping to greatly support their research initiatives.


The City is working to attract high-tech companies and additional employment opportunities throughout the City, including its business parks and at Alameda Point. Currently, there are several high-tech research and development companies located at Alameda Point that could benefit from creating a partnership with CENIC and its partners during this 2-year pilot period.  These research and development businesses that participate in the CENIC network will have unfettered access to research universities’ data, and scientific instruments such as super computers at LLNL and LBNL and other research partners worldwide.  This partnership has the potential to be an important economic development strategy for attracting and fostering high-tech research and development businesses in Alameda, including Alameda Point, consistent with the reuse plans all subsequent plans, focusing on attracting high intensity jobs to replace those that left when the Base closed.  The following provides a summary of the proposed CENIC connectivity pilot project in Alameda:

                     What does the CENIC network provide to members?  This project is an opportunity to connect research and development businesses in the City to an existing 100 gig capacity broadband research network used by educational / research institutions worldwide.

                     Who is expected to participate and how is that determined?  Because this is a research and educational network, only research and development businesses in Alameda can be approved to be connected to the CENIC network.

Two research and development companies at Alameda Point have expressed strong interest in this proof-of-concept pilot project:  Saildrone and Astra. In particular, Saildrone has provided a Letter of Interest to the City and they anticipate being able to upload their high resolution ocean data they collect onto the CENIC network and link to super computers at LLNL or LBNL that are also on CENIC to perform intense high-speed data analysis.  They will also have access to other CENIC members worldwide bringing together some of the most remarkable scientists on both sides of the Pacific Ocean working together on research activity and sharing data in the studies of climate change.

The connection to the CENIC network will be offered to other existing research and development companies at Alameda Point as well as marketed to new research and development businesses potentially interested in locating at Alameda Point. There is no limit to the number of research and development industries that can be connected once the required hardware is installed as long as they meet CENIC’s criteria.

                     What are the benefits to the City? It is beneficial to the City’s economic health to foster successful relationships with existing research and development businesses that typically employ high-paying jobs in order to retain them in the City and attracting new research and development businesses by providing access to research institutions and supercomputers through the CENIC network.  The intent of the pilot project is to act as a potential catalyst for existing and future research and development businesses in the City, which bring jobs and helps mitigate traffic by encouraging more residents to live and work in Alameda. CENIC’s association with the educational community is important; therefore, an internship program with Alameda Unified School District and College of Alameda will be included as part of this partnership project providing high-tech educational opportunities for Alameda students.

                     How much does the project cost and how will it be funded? The total first year cost is $216,086 which includes the capital cost for hardware as well as the support costs to manage the research network.  The capital cost of $150,386 will be funded from the technology strategic plan funds already allocated in the FY2018/19 budget and the $65,700 operating costs to manage the research network will be funded by lease revenues from the Base Reuse Department and from the economic development division in the Community Development Department for both Year 1 and 2. Each research and development company will pay $5,000 to join for the required point-to-point hardware.  The annual operating costs of $65,700 is the same regardless of how many research and development companies.  If the project is successful as determined at the end of the pilot period, the intent of the pilot project is to transfer all or portions of the annual costs to participating members and/or to obtain other sustainable source of funds with limited fiscal impact to the City.

                     What actions does the City need to take to implement this project? A network consultant was hired to assist in analyzing the steps required to connect to CENIC which includes establishing a main Point of Presence (PoP) location, securing wireless fiber points, establishing a managed Network Operations Center (NOC) and a Managed Network Service Provider, which represent the hardware capital costs described above.  With City Council approval to invest in this project, staff will return to the City Council for approval to purchase this hardware infrastructure and also request City Council’s approval of an MOU between the City and CENIC to establish a settlement-free interconnection (“SFI”) allowing CENIC connectivity to research and development companies at Alameda Point. Additionally, City staff will be working to secure participation from interested and qualifying research and development companies, who will then be connected to the CENIC network upon installation of the required hardware.

                     What happens at the end of the pilot?  At the end of the two year pilot, City staff will evaluate the success of the pilot project and return to the City Council with the results.  Based on that report, staff will make recommendations about potentially continuing and expanding the project Citywide and the potential for sustainable long term funding options.


The budget for the first year support costs and capital costs totaling $150,386 is included in FY 2018-19 adopted budget.  The annual support costs for each Year 1 and 2 in the amount of $65,700 will be split between Base Reuse (#819099) and Economic Development (#256) funds.  The budget adjustments will be included in the mid-cycle budget update for Council approval in June 2018 for the annual support costs.


It is consistent with the City’s General Plan, Chapter 9 and the Economic Development Strategic Plan, Strategy 1-Create Industrial and Office Jobs. Additionally, this project is consistent with the Information Technology Strategic Plan approved by the City Council on November 7, 2017.


This action is exempt from environmental review under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines sections 15301 (existing facilities), 15302 (replacement or reconstruction), 15303 (new construction or conversion of small structures) 15304 (minor alterations to land), 15306 (data collection) and 15061(b)(3) (general rule, no significant effect on the environment), each of which provides a separate and independent basis for CEQA clearance and when viewed collectively provide an overall basis for CEQA clearance.


Approve two-year pilot project to invest in ultra-high-speed broadband research and development network to attract and foster high-tech research and development companies initially located at Alameda Point.

Respectfully submitted,

Carolyn T. Hogg, Information Technology Director


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Edwin Gato, Acting Finance Director