When we think of the infrastructure we need to make San José (or any modern city) work, it's about more than just potholes and rail lines. Add robust broadband and wireless Internet access to the list. Of course, streets and transit remain as important as ever, but we also need to fill in gaps of internet access to support a growing economy.
A couple of weeks ago, we asked hundreds of San José residents who participated in StartUp San José to tell us how they would help small businesses to keep our economy growing. Several folks focused on the need to grow broadband and wireless infrastructure.
That idea got several of us excited about some possibilities -- so we're launching the next phase of StartUp San José: "Create a Job, Get Free WiFi."
Here's the idea: we'd like to leverage the free wireless boosters that a local company, Ruckus Wireless, is providing for small businesses Downtown. A few weeks ago, Ruckus helped to launch our free "Wickedly Fast" outdoor wireless network Downtown -- the fastest in North America -- and they've offered 100 of their wireless booster devices as part of that system.
To maximize the use of those free boosters, we're proposing a boost for Downtown small businesses: any employer that hires just one new person in the next three months, or opens up shop Downtown, will receive new boosters. With Ruckus' help, we will bring this powerful Wi-Fi signal indoors for your employees and customers to use -- for free.
It's a small thing, to be sure. But creating a new job, starting a new business or bringing your company to San José should be rewarded. And if this helps a just a couple of small businesses survive and thrive, it seems well worth the effort.
StartUp San José is about leveraging the passion the people of San José feel for creating, innovating, and building in our city. If we're able to support that passion, great things will result: high-wage jobs, vibrant business districts, and revenue to pay for more police and better schools.
We launched StartUp San José with a proposal to make it easier for new businesses to fill empty storefronts throughout San José, creating more walkable, vibrant and safer streets. As we fill in the storefronts, pedestrians will fill up the streets, and all businesses in the neighborhood will fill up their cash registers, creating new jobs and new revenue for the city. That proposal will come to the City Council next month, and we'll need your support to persuade my colleagues to approve it.
Our "Create a Job, Get Free Wi-Fi" proposal is our next step. It won't cost the public a dime, and it could deliver new jobs, new revenue and help keep us building a entrepreneurial ecosystem in San José that supports small businesses.
What do you think?
And more importantly: what should we do next to StartUp San José? Email me at StartUpSanJose@gmail.com to share your ideas and imagination. Together, we can show the world how to crowd-source economic development in San José--and StartUp a great city.