FCC Chairman To Visit San Leandro, Tout Its Fiber Optic Loop

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is scheduled to appear at the Main Library at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, Feb. 27 to talk about gigabit cities.


San Leandro will get a boost in its bid for attention as a high-tech city when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission visits here to talk about Lit San Leandro, the fiber optic loop being built by software entrepreneur Patrick Kennedy.

As chairman of the FCC, Julius Genachowski is the point man in the Obama administration's efforts to expand high-speed Internet. 

His visit, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the San Leandro Main Library, is a high profile endorsement of the city's efforts to make itself known as a destination for industries that rely on fast Internet connections.

Mayor Stephen Cassidy said he met Genachowski at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting last month in Washington, D.C.  

At that time the FCC Chairman challenged mayors to create gigabit Internet hubs. Cassidy said Lit San Leandro, which became operational last year, offers local businesses speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, or 2,000 times faster than the average U.S. internet connection.

As Deborah Acosta, San Leandro's newly-hired Chief Innovation Officer, told Patch in an interview, the combination of high-speed fiber and relatively inexpensive industrial land could lure tech businesses across the Bay from the more costly Peninsula.

All of these possibilities flow from the initiatives set in motion by Kennedy, who has spent the last 30 years building a  that is based just west of the San Leandro BART station.

OSIsoft is to industrial processes what Windows is to personal computers -- a virtually ubiquitous platform. Only OSIsoft's products are used to run processing plans in industries such as chemicals, plastics, petroleum and energy generation.

Over the last two years OSIsoft and Kennedy have been emerging from the shadows of obscurity.

A $100 million investment by the Kleiner Perkins venture capital firm helped raise its profile, and provided some spending money for the family-owned company.

Last year, OSIsoft won a Presidential Export Award for making its plant-processing software a global presence in heavy industries.

Now the fiber optic loop -- which Kennedy is building with about $3 million of his own money -- gives San Leandro a chance to follow OSIsoft out of the shadows and compete with local high tech cities such as Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

Read more about San Leandro's budding high tech economy in Patch's TechLeandro archives.


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