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In Procurement, Silicon Valley City Looks to Close Digital Divide

The municipality is seeking IT contractors to improve Internet service to the attendance area of one of its high schools as well as surrounding communities.

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Silicon Valley’s largest city is seeking help from IT contractors to improve Internet service to students and residents alike.

In a new capital improvement project procurement released Wednesday, the city of San Jose calls for bids on the “(East Side Union High School District) ESUHSD Independence Community Wi-Fi Infrastructure (Community Development Block Grant) CDBG (‘Project’).” It’s an initiative with a potential value of more than $1 million. Among the takeaways:

  • The project will continue San Jose’s work to bridge the digital divide and provide its more than 1 million residents with high-speed Internet. Generally, it involves “providing Wi-Fi to (the) Independence High School attendance area and surrounding communities through the installation of wireless radios and Wi-Fi access points onto approximately 200 city street light poles,” per the procurement. In a news release in August 2020, San Jose said it was working with ESUHSD and the Santa Clara County Office of Education on expanding the Access East Side Community Wi-Fi Project to the Union High area. The city estimated then that the expansion would provide Internet access to nearly 306,000 residents — and free broadband to thousands of families that hadn’t had it.
  • The project location is described as being “throughout (the) Independence High attendance area and communities.” Work includes “installing Wi-Fi equipment onto street light poles and traffic signal poles” in the city right-of-way. This could also include removal and installation of new streetlight controllers.
  • Among the experience requirements, bidders must provide at least three “completed projects as references,” and these must “demonstrate the bidder’s experience and ability to complete the construction work as required.” The projects must “have involved construction substantially similar to the construction” for this one — i.e., contract amounts of at least 70 percent of the engineer’s estimate for this project; “the same elements of construction using similar construction trades ... ,” and projects must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2015.
  • The project is valued at just more than $1.3 million, according to an engineer’s estimate in the procurement. Funding is through ESUHSD funds. Bidders must register with Biddingo, a free online bid solicitation website, to participate in the process. Questions are due by 3 p.m. Sept. 30. Bids are due to the city public works director by 3 p.m. Oct. 7. It’s unclear when the contract will be awarded or what its exact duration will be.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.