Atherton Fiber unveils open-access FTTH network

May 24, 2022
A subsidiary of Open 5G, California's Atherton Fiber is an open-access fiber-optic network that delivers fast symmetrical internet connections comparable to major broadband operators in San Mateo County.

A subsidiary of Open 5GAtherton Fiber this month announced its launch into California's San Mateo County market, with its community-driven, open-access fiber-optic network that it says delivers fast symmetrical Internet connections comparable to those of major broadband operators. Via Atherton Fiber, the City of Atherton is providing an open access network to its residents.

Rick DeGolia, Mayor of Atherton, explained, “In 2014, during my first term as Mayor of Atherton, the Atherton City Council created an IT committee of knowledgeable, interested residents to determine how to best provide our residents with fast, reliable broadband service that would be community-oriented. We repeatedly heard that the incumbent internet providers were not meeting the needs of either the residents or of the town. After a thorough investigation, we decided to support the private company, Atherton Fiber, which was created by one of the committee members, to deploy dark fiber throughout our town. Atherton Fiber is an open access network provider that offers residents a choice of multiple internet service providers who have access to their network."

Atherton Fiber allows other providers to access its fiber network, so that cities can deliver their own branded broadband services. As contended by a company's statement, "This [represents] a significant difference from the closed networks of AT&T and Comcast."

“Broadband connectivity has changed people's expectations about what ‘fast’ means—what was amazing a couple of years ago is now annoyingly slow,” points out Gerry Lawlor, chief executive officer at Atherton Fiber, who adds, "Our mission is to deliver the fastest broadband possible with the best customer service, period.”

A comparable BSP offering

With its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network, Atherton Fiber offers 1-Gigabit symmetrical broadband service for $65 per month and 500-megabit service for $55 per month, and expects to roll out 2.5-Gigabit symmetrical service later this year.

For high-income homes and businesses, Atherton Fiber will deliver 10 Gigabits of symmetrical fiber service for a $10-$15,000 installation charge, plus a $300 monthly fee via its Personal Fiber License service. The service guarantees an exclusive connection directly from the network hub to the customer premises on a lease-like arrangement that lasts 30 years.

Atherton Fiber notes the company is also committed to bridging the digital divide by serving lower-income communities with a free service. The company is already serving parts of North Fair Oaks with free, 1-Gigabit symmetrical fiber. Atherton Fiber estimates that at least 5 percent of residents in each city will qualify for free service.

Currently operating its network in the cities Atherton and North Fair Oaks, the company plans to expand into Woodside, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and other California cities over the coming year. Serving homes, schools and businesses, the company was founded by Atherton resident Mike Farmwald.

As pithily put by a company press release: "Founded by a disgruntled former Comcast and AT&T customer, Atherton Fiber is finding receptive customers who are fed up with lower-than-advertised broadband speeds and famously poor customer service, by offering symmetrical internet connectivity—the same speed uploading as well as downloading—starting at 500 megabits per second and going up from there."

Atherton Fiber notes that it is in discussions with other cities about the potential for this type of network.

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About the Author

Cabling Installation & Maintenance Staff

Cabling Installation & Maintenance publishes news and technical information for information and communications technology (ICT) professionals.

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