HAYWARD -- Lightning-fast Internet connections could be coming to local businesses, using a private-public model that created Lit San Leandro, a fiber-optic network that encircles that city.
The same company that created the high-speed network in San Leandro wants to expand into its neighbor to the south as High-Speed Hayward, which would utilize existing underground city conduit to house an 18-mile loop of cable. Businesses could tap into the network, receiving and sending data over the Internet in a fraction of the time it takes with broadband, said Lit San Leandro CEO Jim Morrison.
"Fiber optic is much, much faster," he said.
In exchange for Hayward allowing the cable to be run through its conduit, the city would have access to 10 percent, or 30 strands of the network, Morrison said. "It would effectively be theirs," he said. Thirty fiber strands could carry several thousand times more data than what is used at City Hall, according to a staff report.
The Hayward City Council will be briefed on the proposal during a work session Tuesday night, but will not vote on it.
High-Speed Hayward, the tentative name of the project, would first focus on biotech businesses in the industrial area west of Hesperian Boulevard.
"We're very interested in the biotech community," Morrison said. "Genome research is very data-intensive, and our product would allow large quantities of data to be moved super-fast on the Internet."
High-Speed Hayward could be a boon to the city, said Councilman Al Mendall. "I'm excited about its potential to help us attract high-tech and biotech companies to the city," he said.
Lit San Leandro was created by Patrick Kennedy, who owns software company OSIsoft of San Leandro. The longtime San Leandro resident invested $3 million of his own money in the joint private-public venture because his growing international company needed more Internet bandwidth.
The venture is starting to pay off in San Leandro, Morrison said.
"Where we've run fiber, there has been a significant reduced vacancy rate," he said. "It raises the value of property when you have fiber optic connectivity."
Lit San Leandro also is negotiating with other East Bay cities, though Morrison declined to be more specific. "We're making an effort to unify the East Bay as a high-tech advanced manufacturing and health care initiative area," he said.
If the council approves moving ahead with the fiber optic plan, a contract would be negotiated, with a council vote scheduled for October or November. Work could start as early as January and be finished within a year, Morrison said.
Plans call for a company separate from Lit San Leandro to run High-Speed Hayward, though the two would have the same management team, he said.
It's premature to speculate about how much it would cost to tap into the network, Morrison said, because there are too many variables, such as the types and sizes of businesses and how close they would be to the loop.
Much as San Leandro is doing, Hayward could use the fiber-optic network to attract new businesses, he said. Other businesses could benefit indirectly, because those new workers will patronize local banks, barbers, restaurants and other places.
The developer would pay all the costs of installing and maintaining the network, said Mark Guenther, Hayward's technology services director. "This is not going to cost the city anything," he said.
The network is aimed at businesses, not residences. It will provide almost unlimited band width, allowing businesses to grow, Morrison said.
"This enables people to think fast and work fast; you're not waiting for downloads," he said. "It's uber-fast. You have information quickly: boom, boom, boom."
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.
Hayward City Council
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Council chamber, City Hall, 777 B St.