SCV moves two steps closer to faster internet service

Parabolic antennas used in microwave communications.
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More businesses and residents of the Santa Clarita Valley will gain access to state-of-the-art internet service, either wirelessly or through fiber optic lines, because of moves announced yesterday by two telecommunications providers, Skyriver Communications and AT&T.

Skyriver will install additional wireless capacity on Round Mountain, a move that will add capacity and speed to business customers in the nearby Valencia Industrial Center. Yesterday marked the end of a statutory appeal period that started when the City of Santa Clarita approved a permit in October for the installation on city-owned property near Avenue Tibbitts. One step remains before construction can start, said Denise Covert, economic development associate for the City of Santa Clarita, and that is for the city to provide final approval of Skyriver’s construction plan.

Skyriver, based in San Diego, is a privately held provider of wireless broadband internet services to businesses throughout Southern California, using fixed wireless technology between mountain top and building top base stations to create a core network. This allows it to avoid the higher infrastructure costs of burying fiber cable, as is required in Santa Clarita. The company will install four antenna arrays on a new 17-foot transmission pole and add four new antenna arrays on an existing 35-foot pole, along with supporting electric equipment, all at an existing Round Mountain facility at 25239 1/2 Avenue Tibbitts. The permit requires all “conduits, wires, cables or ancillary equipment to be screened from view and/or placed underground as part of construction,” and that any installation “shall not cause interference with any electrical equipment in the surrounding neighborhoods, including television, radio, telephone or computer use” or interfere with other public or private telecommunication facilities.

“This added capacity will provide another option for businesses to obtain wireless internet services at various speeds,” Covert said. “It provides another tool in our city’s toolbox to help local businesses obtain the types of internet service that are essential with the speed and reliability they require.”

Construction is expected to start in the 2nd week of January and be complete by end of February, Covert said, followed by two weeks of testing. Service is expected to be ready for public by end of March.

Separately, AT&T announced yesterday that it is launching ultra-fast one-gigabit internet service in parts of Santa Clarita, Arcadia and Pasadena as part of its growing fiber optic network. Los Angeles is one of 44 metropolitan areas nationwide where such service is currently available. These internet speeds are 20 times faster than the average cable connection, the company says, allowing business customers to seamlessly telecommute, video-conference, upload and download photos and videos, and connect faster to the cloud. Home customers can download 25 songs in one second or a 90-minute high definition movie in less than 34 seconds.

“AT&T continues to invest in Southern California to bring high-speed internet to our customers,” said Mike Silacci, assistant vice president, AT&T California. “The Greater Los Angeles area is home to technology, entertainment, and a variety of growing industries. AT&T Fiber will help all of business grow and thrive.” AT&T has invested more than $2.1 billion in its wireless and wireline networks in the greater Los Angeles area between 2013 through 2015.

“This announcement from AT&T is welcome news for our community, as is Skyriver’s approval to install a new communication facility on Round Mountain near the Valencia Industrial Center, which will provide businesses with increased access to wireless broadband services,” said Holly Schroeder, president & CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. “These announcements come on the heels of the City of Santa Clarita’s recent lease of dark fiber to Wilcon, an LA-based fiber optic network provider. The Santa Clarita Valley is growing as a tech center, and increased access to high-speed internet is vital for our businesses to be competitive in the global marketplace. Collectively, these actions should improve the speeds and options available to SCV businesses.” Wilcon signed a 10-year agreement with the City of Santa Clarita to June to lease the city’s excess unused (hence “dark”) fiber capacity to provide service to city facilities, and connect and manage all traffic signals and cameras in the city.

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