Santa Cruz has always been known as a beach community, an oasis where Bay Area citizens can escape into the sunny bliss of rolling surf and beautiful redwoods. However, in recent months, Santa Cruz is making waves in another way, following Kansas City, Chattanooga and Lafayette in creating a hyper-connected “Gig City.”
But where other cities have relied on public funds or the efforts of large corporations, the Santa Cruz high-bandwidth network is expanding through partnerships between local ISP Cruzio and private building owners.
In 2010, Cruzio opened its own office and coworking facility, Cruzioworks, with a direct connection to Silicon Valley via 10 gigabits of fiber-optic Internet. Small businesses and technologists flocked to Cruzioworks. Soon after opening, the 12,000 square foot space was almost filled, to over 90% occupancy.
Cruzioworks is now home to a diverse community of lawyers, writers, graphic and game designers, a local newspaper company, and a 3D print shop, to name a few. “We have all kinds of tenants,” says Cruzio Business Development Manager James Hackett, “but the available Internet has made a huge difference when trying to rent the space.” Cruzioworks offers 100 Mbps connectivity with all their offices.
“You wouldn’t dream of moving a business into a building without adequate water and electricity,” says Cruzio CTO Chris Neklason. “The same thing is now true of quality broadband Internet.” Forward-thinking local property developers and building owners are taking note and partnering with Cruzio to expand Santa Cruz’s broadband capabilities.
William Ow’s University Business Park, the former Wrigley building and the largest building in Santa Cruz, is the latest to connect to Cruzio’s locally owned and operated, cutting-edge fiber/wireless hybrid network. The building has 140,000 square feet of prime office and manufacturing space, and now the landmark location has access to the best Internet available.
Peter Prindle of the Santa Cruz Downtown Management Association saw the need for more bandwidth downtown early, and contacted Cruzio to develop a program to connect more downtown buildings to their new fiber network. His building at 1515 Pacific was among the first, and his son Peter Prindle of MCM Properties soon followed suit, hooking up several buildings including the University Town Center and the Westside’s Lipton building. The Rittenhouse building has since connected and others are lining up. “We’ll connect a building to our network at no cost to the owner or manager,” says Hackett. “Once connected, your tenants have access to all our business-grade Internet products.”
Expansion of Santa Cruz’s broadband infrastructure is essential to economic development. “Modern business needs quality broadband to thrive,” says Cruzio CEO Peggy Dolgenos. “Some of the brightest tech minds reside in Santa Cruz and in order to be the best and brightest, they must have the best tools available. We want to see Santa Cruz leading the way, attracting new business, holding on to our graduates and reducing the number of people driving the hill. Technology companies like Cruzio partnering with building owners and developers is a great way to build a network, fill empty office space, boost the local economy and keep local dollars in Santa Cruz.”