Get Sonic Fiber to the West Portal Neighborhood

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
8 posts Page 1 of 1
by erica.feller » Fri May 10, 2024 12:27 pm
Dear Sonic Team,

The West Portal community in San Francisco has created a website https://www.sonicwestportal.com and a petition https://change.org/sonicwestportal to help collect signatures to support the cause of getting fiber internet connection to the West Portal neighborhood.

We would love to have a response from you on our petition.

Thank you very much in advance,
Erica
by dane » Fri May 10, 2024 2:13 pm
Looking at the maps of the region in our engineering GIS system, the primary issue that impedes deployment in the portion of West Portal that we do not currently serve is the inaccessibility of most of the utility poles. Another secondary issue there is the MUNI train power lines overhead. On Taraval and Ulloa, there may be clearance issues utilities such as Sonic must comply with for safety which may make it impossible to deploy on these key streets. (Existing utilities seem to be ignored despite clearance issues.)

But if those issues can be solved, inaccessible poles are really a challenge. Unlike most of SF, the poles on many streets in West Portal were placed in the back yards of homes, and this was done without any provision for access, vehicular or otherwise. Ideally when the poles are behind homes, there would be an alley, allowing for access to the utilities, and sometimes garages and garbage collection. But those facilities are at the front of the lots, while just the utility poles are in the back, stranded and inaccessible.

Deployment on inaccessible back-of-lot poles is very, very difficult because we must gain coordinated unlocked access (with no dogs in yards, etc) to every backyard, whether it has a pole in it or not, all at the same time, over many days over multiple months. This must be done for the pole survey, the make-ready work on each pole, then the stainless steel strand placement, the lashing of the fiber, the splicing of the fiber, and finally, for drops to homes as needed. To do each of these tasks, you need access to every single yard all at once because you're working to bring a new strand or cable from one to the next. Without uniform and consistent access to every single backyard, it's just not possible.

And I will say, we have tried very hard to make this work. In San Jose for example, when construction crews couldn't gain access to back yard poles, City staff offered to accompany us, and then members of the police department, all assisting in attempting to gain access to yards. It just didn't work. People would deny access to the construction crews or City employees accompanying them, or just wouldn't be home, gates would be locked, dogs roaming yards, etc. And when at least five visits have to be made to every yard over the course of many months - and then ongoing when new customers were connected, it just became impossible to achieve.

The only condition that I could see where this could be possible would be if we got 100% of the residents on board, to sign off and allow us to survey, build, splice and also place a drop to every one of the homes in the entire area. We'd need access to all yards, no loose dogs, and complete coordination to assure unimpeded access for all steps of the process. And I'd want to see at least 70% of those homes agreeing to take fiber service, or the economics of something like this just wouldn't work out either. And there remains the possibility that upon survey, one or more of the poles is unsafe, which could then preclude deployment too.

Clearly, we want to build to every home we can. But placing utilities in an inaccessible location is a real barrier to that. While I'm skeptical that all neighbors will cooperate and the engineering will all work, I'm certainly willing to engage in dialog on the idea.
Dane Jasper
Sonic
by erica.feller » Fri May 10, 2024 5:10 pm
Hi Dane,

Thank you so much for your quick and detailed response. We would like to help you to help us get fiber internet connection.

Please send us instructions and we will get whatever you want done to get your amazing internet service. For example, one of the poles is in our backyard. We also have an open alley behind the backyard with access to the poles (we are owners of the gate to the alleyways and have keys). We know most of the neighbors on our block and would be willing to advocate for them to get Sonic/give you access to the backyards. Our block has been suffering from weekly internet outages and everyone is fed up.

My email is: feller.erica@gmail.com

Best regards,
Erica
by dane » Fri May 10, 2024 6:03 pm
Is the alley accessible by a large vehicle like a bucket truck? Are there alleys in all of the blocks? I’m not seeing that on the satellite view.
Dane Jasper
Sonic
by erica.feller » Fri May 10, 2024 9:04 pm
Hi Dane,

Thanks for your response. We have taken some pictures and recorded two drone videos. You can find the material at https://tinyurl.com/wawonast.

In the pictures you will find attached a street map showing access from two sides (14th Ave and Vicente St). There is one alley split into two sides. One narrow entrance from Vicente St and a wider one from 14th Ave. The bucket truck would fit into the 14th Ave entrance.

There is only an alley in the block we live in. We would be happy to give you a walking tour of our neighborhood and buy you your favorite coffee :)

We will beg you if we have to PLEASE for the love of Sonic and our neighborhood to pull fiber internet just for us?! We will be forever grateful and you will be the most amazing bestest CEO in all of Silicon Valley. I will personally make that award happen with our neighborhood.

Please be our hero,
Erica
by erica.feller » Sat May 18, 2024 9:13 am
Hi Dane,

Wonder if you had a chance to look at the pictures and videos that I have uploaded?

Thanks,
Erica
by dane » Fri May 24, 2024 2:05 pm
erica.feller wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 9:13 am Hi Dane,

Wonder if you had a chance to look at the pictures and videos that I have uploaded?

Thanks,
Erica
The issue there as I understand it isn't just one particular block, but the whole neighborhood which has many poles which are inaccessible, placed in people's back yards, behind locked gates etc. Without uniform access to all poles, it's just not possible to build new fiber there.
Dane Jasper
Sonic
by erica.feller » Fri May 24, 2024 8:45 pm
dane wrote: Fri May 24, 2024 2:05 pm
erica.feller wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 9:13 am Hi Dane,

Wonder if you had a chance to look at the pictures and videos that I have uploaded?

Thanks,
Erica
The issue there as I understand it isn't just one particular block, but the whole neighborhood which has many poles which are inaccessible, placed in people's back yards, behind locked gates etc. Without uniform access to all poles, it's just not possible to build new fiber there.
Thanks for your response Dane. I understand that it may be not possible to connect the entire neighborhood. However, is it maybe possible to connect our block that does have access to the poles via an alley? There are businesses and apartment buildings that may benefit from this as well since they are accessible from the same alley.
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