New life in Wireless Silicon Valley? The San Jose Mercury News reports that Covad has stepped into the mix of firms that won the contract to build out the vast Wireless Silicon Valley project. The firm will work with Cisco to build a three-month, one-square-mile test network in San Carlos. However, if the test results in a network being built, Covad will focus on business and governmental customers--no consumer public access is planned.
A few weeks ago, I predicted the project was completely dead because there was no money, no funding sources, no focus, and the major partners (IBM and Cisco) seemed unwilling to put in their own funds to jumpstart the effort.
In the interim, Azulstar, the junior partner that was in charge of running the project and gaining funding, was pushed out of Metro Connect Sacramento, and Intel and Cisco agreed to provide $750,000 in equipment loans to get things going there.
I had wondered for some time why companies with the reputation and scale of IBM, Cisco, and Intel weren't going to the mat for the Silicon Valley project, given how embarrassing it should have been for them to have a proposal such as that fail. It highlights how these blue-chip companies put their names on proposals, when their real contribution is providing equipment loans and strategic advice, rather than real participation.
This news out of the Mercury News notes that Covad entered the business wireless broadband market through an acquisition in 2006, so it's not that strange for the company to test the waters here.