By Charlotte Rudnick, Quilt staff.
DATELINE: VALERIO STREET
While Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield makes the case for wireless internet citywide, here in his own district, the Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council (CPFNC) continues to move forward on its promise to deliver free curbside dial-up internet access to every resident within Canoga Park city limits.
|Residents throughout Canoga Park have begun noticing the appearance|
of free dial-up internet access terminals along city streets. Staff photo.
|Work has already begun on the Canoga Park Dial-|
Up Initiative along Valerio Street. Staff photo.
“We’re very lucky to have Councilman Blumenfield representing us,” explains CPFNC 'Technology Tsar' Devang (“Dev”) Noorvash, “but we’re operating completely independently of Bob’s office on this particular project.”
Local municipal government insiders are reporting unanimous Friendly Neighborhood Council support and enthusiasm for the ambitious plan, but note some dissension among the ranks as to its impact and aim.
“There are a few who are saying free internet access for the entire city of LA is a pie-in-the-sky idea that will never happen, so we should at least take care of our own here in the West Valley,” said one anonymous source inside Canoga Park Community Center.
Conversely, another tipster says that a few on the CPFNC feel that by implementing the program locally, they'd be showing the rest of the city just how feasible such an initiative can be, with Canoga Park leading the charge toward a bright new era in 21st century community-based connectivity and communication.
|A Series of Tubes: The World Wide Web will be carried be-|
neath Canoga Park's streets through these pipes. Staff photo.
Work began last week on Valerio Street at DeSoto, Canoga Park’s easternmost border, where the road was torn up in order to lay a dedicated line through which the World Wide Web will be delivered. Residents of the tight-knit ValeriSoto neighborhood will be among the first in our area to be able to “surf the Web” (access the Internet) for free via any of the thousands of television monitors - which many Canoga locals are beginning to see installed on the sidewalk or, in the cases of streets with no sidewalk, on the dirt or dead grass by the edge of the street - in front of every residence or place of business.
|Web-TV box, keyboard & accessories: What you'll need to|
access Canoga Park's free Internet. Photo: Wikipedia.
Residents will be required to furnish their own interface to connect to the TVs if they want to access the Information Superhighway.
Not sure what you’ll need or how to get it? No need to worry - the Neighborhood Council has partnered with a large waste management and salvage firm that can provide up to tens of thousands of Web-TV boxes, keyboards and cables.
“We put in a bid for just a few thousand units, and luckily it was accepted. It’s a good thing I called when I did - they were about to be buried in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico,” explains CPFNC Treasurer Erica Bauerle.
|Canoga Park' first free internet access point was installed in front|
of an apartment building at 21171 Valerio Street. Staff photo.
The cost of the initial order was easily absorbed by a surplus in the town’s coffers, thanks to robust ticket sales from last year’s always popular Amateur Night at the Madrid event - with enough left over to help subsidize the cost of the units to Canoga Park residents of virtually every economic circumstance who hope to purchase one.
“Certainly, those who live in Canoga Park are welcome to purchase hardware on their own, if they like. Goodwill’s a great place to start, or eBay, or yard sales or even trash bins in communities where there are a lot of elderly people,” notes Bauerle.
And of course, if you already own a Web-TV box and keyboard, you can use that. “If you like your hardware, you can keep your hardware,” she explains.
|A limited number of internet access portals will feature municipal storage|
units, to be used to house shared cables and wires, or in case users might
need clean underpants or maybe a fresh pair of socks. Photo: Dev Noorvash
A preliminary test of the system suffered a few minor glitches. “Once they installed the first three blocks of cable, from DeSoto to Variel, we tried getting on the Neighborhood Council website at an access point at the end of the line. But it was taking too long - it wouldn’t open. Then we tried something a little less graphics-heavy - the Google search page and - voila!” Noorvash smiles. “After only four or five minutes, the page loaded successfully. But then someone - we’ve narrowed it down to a residence on Loma Verde or Independence - picked up their phone to order a pizza and we got knocked off.”
|Another of the recently installed units. Staff photo.|
But the genial Noorvash reports that a representative from Geek Squad is “working ‘round the clock” on these technical issues and despite the minor setbacks, Noorvash expects the system to be completely operational across all of Canoga Park within the next twelve to sixteen months.
And once it’s up and running, it’ll certainly be a win-win for members of our community who want to “stay connected” in today’s fast-paced world.
Soon everyone in Canoga Park - not just those with “Smart-Phones” - can stare at screens, check emails, compose and send tweets (“Twitter” messages), share cute possum photos on their Face-Books and watch the latest You Tube video, all while wandering down the street.
As Dev himself wrote so prophetically to the Quilt in a test email message he sent on Tuesday from a Valerio Street access point (that arrived quick-as-you-please this morning): “The future is here in Canoga Park.”