Highest High Speed

Your Internet connections could get faster—way faster—if the Santa Cruz City Council moves ahead Tuesday toward building gigabit-fiber Internet systems for homes and businesses.

This isn’t about family fights over who gets their own Netflix screen, says the city’s economic development manager, J. Guevara. It’s about building an infrastructure for the future. Speed wise, your Internet connection will go from around 15 megabits per second to 1,000, he says.

“It’s big,” Guevara says. “It’s an opportunity to show Santa Cruz is serious about economic growth and doing so in a responsible way with public benefits that the community gets to share.”

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The project would be a public/private investment with local web provider Cruzio. The goal would be to bring the fastest service into every home and business, Guevara says, bridging the gap for those who can’t afford the best service now by making it more affordable.

In some places, it can cost $1,000 a month for gigabit service. It’s $138.50 in San Francisco and San Jose. But others, such as Chattanooga, Tennessee and Portland, Oregon, recently dropped their rates to $70 a month. More important than price is the businesses it can bring in, says Guevara. With 30 million people nationwide working as freelancers on the Internet, this could attract tech workers and bring in companies that need the fastest speeds, such as those working on genetics and DNA, which burn huge amounts of bandwidth.

Guevara wasn’t prepared to talk about the cost to the city, but will have figures available for the council packets released on Friday.

Measles Death

At the height of controversy over the California bill to require children to be vaccinated before they can enter schools, a Santa Cruz doctor told the state legislature a tragic tale of a 4-year-old patient who is dying from measles complications.

“My patient was only 5 months old when he was hospitalized with measles—too young to be immunized,” wrote Dr. Catherine Sonquist Forest, who had her letter read into the record. “By the time he was old enough for immunization, it was already too late for him. A year ago, at age 3, he developed a rare complication of measles that will soon kill him.”

Sonquist Forest said the boy’s parents asked her to release information about the case to safeguard others.

“It is not known where or from whom my patient contracted measles. But his family and I want you to understand, in no uncertain terms, that his death will be due to a failure of our herd immunity,” she says.

SB277, which ends exceptions to vaccines for parental beliefs, has passed every legislative vote and still needs to be weighed by the Assembly and Gov. Jerry Brown. Opponents see it as an encroachment on their freedom to decide on health care, and have started recall movements against supporters, including local State Sen. Bill Monning. 


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