New Internet Service Provider Coming to Atherton, North Fair Oaks | News

Frustrated by slow internet speeds, Atherton resident Mike Farmwald took matters into his own hands.

Farmwald, who describes himself as a disgruntled former Comcast and AT&T customer, used his own money to invest in setting up a fiber network known as Atherton fiber, in Atherton and North Fair Oaks, an unincorporated area between Redwood City and Menlo Park. The company started offering the service to residents this spring.

“Good internet connectivity is just as important as good electricity,” said Gerry Lawlor, CEO of Atherton Fiber’s parent company, Open5G. “We live connected lives. There is not much we can do on a daily basis without it. The country has underperformed in solving this problem in all facets.”

Fiber optic networks are made up of bundles of small clear glass or plastic fibers instead of copper wires, according to the company. Because fiber optics transmit light rather than electrical signals, data travels faster.

Lawlor, who lives in a remote area of ​​Washington, started his own broadband company before connecting to Farmwald in the spring of 2020. Around that time they started installations. Internet speeds start at 500 megabits per second.

The company also provides free service to lower-income communities. It currently serves portions of North Fair Oaks with free 1-gigabit fiber, compared to Comcast’s 100 megabits for downloads and 10 megabits for uploads, according to Atherton Fiber.

Atherton Fiber offers 1-gigabit broadband service for $65 per month (and 500 megabit service for $55 per month) and expects to roll out 2.5 gigabit service later this year. In contrast, other providers offer 2-gigabit service with much slower upload speeds, according to the company.

A good indicator of customer success? I heard nothing from them, Lawlor said.

“That’s a vote of confidence,” he said.

Atherton Fiber plans to expand to nearby Woodside, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Palo Alto and other California cities over the next year.

So far, there have been more than 1,000 signups, with about 70% of customers living in Atherton, Lawlor said. Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia is one of them.

“I’m very pleased with the service I’ve received and the speed they’ve provided, eliminating delays and interruptions in the many Zoom meetings I attend,” says DeGolia. said in a statement

In 2014, Atherton City Council set up an IT committee to find out how best to provide residents with fast, reliable broadband service as existing internet providers were not meeting their needs, he said.

“After a thorough investigation, we have decided to support the private company Atherton Fiber, which was set up by one of the committee members to roll out dark fiber throughout our city,” he said.

The city offers its residents an open access network and Atherton Fiber is in talks with other cities about the possibilities for this type of network.

According to Lawlor, the company is raising $500 million in seed money.

For high-income homes and businesses looking for an even faster broadband connection, Atherton Fiber can provide 10 gigabits of fiber for up to $15,000 installation, plus a $300 monthly fee through its personal fiber licensing service. The service guarantees an exclusive connection directly from the network hub to the customer’s location for 30 years.

For more information on Open5G and Atherton Fiber, please visit: here

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