SF internet company among those competing to build citywide fiber broadband network

San Francisco internet company Monkeybrains is among the firms competing to build and operate a citywide fiber broadband network. (S.F. Examiner file art/Mike Koozmin)

By  on April 2, 2018 (sfexaminer.com)

San Francisco officials may be tight-lipped about what companies are vying to build a citywide fiber network, but one company has disclosed that they submitted a proposal — local internet service provider Monkeybrains.

Rudy Rucker, who founded Monkeybrains in 1998 with Alex Menendez, confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner Monday that they are part of one team of companies that submitted by last week’s deadline a proposal to build a citywide fiber-to-the-premises network.

“Monkeybrains has teamed up with Black and Veatch, Zayo and Nokia,” Rucker said in an email. “I don’t know all the other teams … but I think we have a very strong team.”

Combined, Monkeybrains and their partners go by the name of Bay City Broadband Partners.

“We recognize that if we win, Monkeybrains customers in San Francisco will be fully consumed by the municipal fiber project and Monkeybrains as you know it will cease to exist,” Rucker wrote. “Alex and I are thrilled to evolve our operations into a city wide project.”

According to Monkeybrains’ website, the company operates “a hybrid network of fiber optic and high capacity wireless links servicing over 5,000 locations with 25 new locations coming online every week.”

The City posted a request for qualifications in January for companies to submit a proposal to compete to build a fiber network connecting all homes and businesses as well as operate wireless services in public spaces.

The effort is being led by Mayor Mark Farrell, who pushed for the initiative when he was a member of the Board of Supervisors with the late Mayor Ed Lee.

Those who submitted a proposal were told “respondent Teams must receive a minimum score of at least 70 percent (56 out of 80 points) on the written proposal evaluation. If this condition is not met, the Respondent Team will no longer be invited to move on to the oral interview phase.”

Oral interviews are expected the week of April 16, with a decision before April 30.

“The City received several bids and we are impressed by the seriousness of the bid teams and their submissions,” Farrell told the Examiner last week. “We look forward to reviewing the bids in detail and moving full-steam ahead with our procurement process.”

The Mayor’s Office is not disclosing any of the submissions, including specific number of submissions and name of companies, but have said “several” submitted proposals. They said city code allows them to withhold that information until a contract has been awarded.

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