PAXIO bringing Free Wi-Fi/Fiber-optic to E’ville?

3 mins read

PAXIO Inc. is poised to fortify E’ville’s Broadband presence with the support of City Council and has launched a new community website to win over residents and businesses. Co-sponsored by the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce, the new site touts Emeryville as the “The Best Connected City in the US”. PAXIO and Emeryville have made the news before when in 2009 then council member Ken Bukowski was investigated and fined for using their consultant money to pay for personal services. Bukowski and his EPOA group has given PAXIO their full endorsement citing that its approval was unnecessarily delayed and that it would lead to long-term cost savings for the city. The “big-picture” strategy of the city seems to be establishing Emeryville as a superior place to do business and recruit more companies to establish roots here. The terms between PAXIO and the city are not totally defined but PAXIO will not only install and provide service but operate and manage the pipeline as well. The entire initiative is supported by the East Bay Broadband Consortium. According to PAXIO, existing infrastructure will be used whenever possible including use of PG&E power lines but “there will be some digs needed in town”. The ambitious plan that has been in the works for five years now, could bring service to E’ville by the end of the year with focus initially in the business dense areas of town.

The Santa Clara based company is looking to fortify its presence and reputation in the bay area broadband market by offering free wi-fi in certain parts of the city as well. Phase I of the rollout of the proposed free Wi-Fi plan would provide coverage to public areas including the Doyle-Hollis Park, Along the Greenway, the Marina, the Amtrak Station, City Hall & the Senior & Recreation Centers (perhaps the schools?). Phase II would extend this coverage to private areas like Bay St. and the Public Market. PAXIO will be absorbing the costs of implementing this free wi-fi as part of the exclusive deal that would last five years. PAXIO’s “open-access” model is to install fiber-optic infrastructure for businesses and then resell bandwidth from its pipeline at a wholesale prices to providers of all sizes (from larger providers like Comcast to smaller ones like Sonic & XO). Their theory is that leveling the playing field for other providers to share its pipeline creates competition in the marketplace by offering the consumer more choice. PAXIO’s network is capable of speeds up to 2 TBPS (that’s fast!) giving companies on its backbone speeds up to 10 GBPS.

“This community’s technological infrastructure provides the entire city with reliable, cost-effective, scalable, secure, and high-speed connectivity,” says Nora Davis, Council member of the City of Emeryville via a press release posted on The Registry. Phil Clark, President of PAXIO via their site adds “These residents will enjoy data at incredible speeds, additionally they will have access to entertainment, home management, and other advanced features that will be carried over these amazing fibers.”

WebPass is another consumer provider we’ve written about before that does not rely on underground cables but uses point-to-point wireless microwave technology. The service is fast but availability is limited to units with a line-of-site with their wireless tower and only available in larger, recently renovated buildings. Hopefully with the addition of PAXIO, Emeryville will set the bar for other companies to provide better services and drive innovation in entertainment packages (I’m still waiting for U-Verse in my neighborhood!).

The city, and the country for that matter, are in desperate need of faster, more accessible broadband options if we’re to compete in a global economy. The U.S. lags behind the rest of the industrial world in availability and throughput and is currently ranked 16th in the world behind notable tech hubs as … Portugal?!  There seems to be a consensus from various news sources that government policies have favored the larger providers like Verizon, Comcast & AT&T and made it prohibitive for smaller players to enter the marketplace and create more competition. The allure of “free wi-fi” is powerful and rightly so but rarely does it live up to expectations just ask residents of Mountain View about “free” Google Wi-Fi. Big Cities like Philadelphia, New Orleans and Chicago have also had disappointing results. Let’s hope PAXIO’s promise combined with the nimbleness of our city lives up to the hype and sets the standard for broadband in other areas. Emeryville’s success here could be a game-changer for the region and the country! | Read more on EmeryConnect.com →

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. I think the focal point is the gig connections to every home and business in Emeryville.

    Sure the free wifi is a nice addition Iesp. for cell phone and tablet use), but the real power is all that high-speed fiber strung all over town!

    This initiative will make Emeryville even more connected than Google’s famous Kansas City build, since Google does NOT include businesses in its fiber build. Go Emeryville!

  2. PAXIO can’t get to our area fast enough. Comcast service to 94608 is terrible and all our efforts to get them to fix it have resulted in no improvement. We have been search for any alternative. Our building isn’t big enough for WebPass and we’re too far from the CO for DSL. We will sign up for PAXIO the moment it is available to us.

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