San Leandro: hub of high-speed
business Internet.

SAN LEANDRO//TECHNOLOGY | It has been some time since San Leandro was the leader and not the follower among East Bay cities.

Just two years after a unique partnership between the city and a local data company in need of extremely high-speed internet connectivity created Lit San Leandro, a downtown fiber optic network, the idea is spreading to its neighbors to the north and south.

On Tuesday, city councils in Oakland and Hayward discussed bringing San Leandro’s idea of becoming a regional tech hub to their own cities.

In Oakland, the council authorized its city administrator to negotiate a 12-month implementation and leasing strategy with LightUP Oakland, a partnership between two private companies that includes Lit San Leandro.

Oakland’s plan would bring faster Internet speeds not only to its downtown, but areas around Jack London Square, the Edgewater business park and the Fruitvale District. Incidentally, following a contentious council meeting Tuesday night over funding for the Domain Awareness Center, a staff report notes the LightUP Oakland project would also facilitate greater connectivity for the controversial citywide surveillance center.

Across the way in Hayward, its city council was presented with a similar strategy to allow Lit San Leandro to use existing city conduit to lay fiber optics in and around its downtown. In all three cities, the infinitely faster capacity for transmitting data along the lines will hopefully attract high-tech business to their cities.

In San Leandro, the partnership with OSiSoft and its founder Patrick Kennedy, has already signed up 25 businesses to tap the fiber optic network since its launch last year. In exchange, for using the city’s 11 miles of conduit, San Leandro retains 10 percent of its capacity.

Although, Hayward is just in the early stages of following San Leandro’s lead, city staff there say, installation of underground fiber optics could begin as early as January 2014.