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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

City Wi-Fi Contract Big Boost for Firm

Beating out 14 competitors, Chatsworth-based systems integration firm PCC Network Solutions, has been approved to install a pilot outdoor wireless program for the City of West Hollywood. The deal comes on the heels of PCC’s recent installation of a wireless network for the City of Lompoc. Though the current value of the West Hollywood deal is only worth approximately $50,000, it has the opportunity to be worth much more if the city decides to expand the wi-fi service beyond the pilot program. Slated to go live this fall, the wireless project will be the second wireless program to be enacted by a municipality in Los Angeles County (Cerritos being the first). The system will consist of seven wireless access points mounted on street lights at the top of traffic signals, spread out across a one mile area stretching along Santa Monica Boulevard, from Fairfax Avenue to La Brea Avenue. Those equipped with wireless devices will be able to log on to the Internet without the use of phone lines or other traditional wires that tether most Internet use to the office or home. Daniel Faurlin, PCC’s vice president of marketing, stressed the importance of the deal to the company. “It’s certainly a high visibility deal and it’s very important to us that our solutions work to the city’s satisfaction right from the get go,” Faurlin said. “One of the main things that helped us get the bid was that they were looking at integrators who had done this type of systems integration before, and we had recently done the Lompoc project.” Faurlin believes that in all likelihood, West Hollywood will expand the wireless systems to include the entire city relatively quickly after the systems go into effect. They indicated their interest and desire to light up the whole city in the RFP. We designed the system based on that assumption; the network can easily be expanded to include the whole city,” Faurlin said. “If I were a betting man, I’d guess that once the pilot is up and running, and everyone sees the value of this service, the city will move to the next step.” Systems integrations such as the West Hollywood project have stimulated PCC’s growth rapidly. The company was named to the Business Journal’s 2004 list of fastest growing companies, with a 32.2 percent growth rate between 2001 and 2003. In 2003, the 160-employee company claimed $19 million in revenues. While Faurlin said that the company’s financial data for 2004 is currently still being audited, he said that it exceeded the number for 2003. He also added that the company’s 2005 revenues would also exceed those of the previous year. According to Brian Ganley, the information technology manager for the City of West Hollwood, PCC’s reputation and experience with systems integration played a crucial role in the city’s decision to grant them the contract. “The process was extremely competitive, based on an RFP that the city has issued,” Ganley said. “Clearly, we were satisfied by our decision, considering that we selected them over their competitors.” The trend of cities offering wireless Internet to their citizens has been slowly gaining steam over the past year, with dozens of municipalities across the country installing wireless systems or exploring the possibility. The largest of these cities being Philadelphia, which has decided to press forward with plans to offer wi-fi, despite running into intransigence from Verizon Wireless. Due to this pressure from the telecommunications industry, analyst David Chamberlain of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based In-Stat remains uncertain of how this trend will play out in the long-term. But in the meantime, he insists hat it is a potentially very lucrative market for companies such as PCC. “It’s a hot market right now, with a great deal of interest. If some of these wi-fi municipal networks become profitable and turn into something a lot of towns will want to get in on it,” Chamberlain said. “If this happens it will be an absolute bonanza for the companies that are installing the stuff. It’s a potentially very big market.” The size of this market is one of the reasons why PCC has decided to expand in recent years, opening up offices in Anaheim, Tempe, Ariz., and Carrollton, Texas. The company has simultaneously begun inking integration services contracts with various Fortune 500 companies around the country, with the most prominent local company being Dreamworks Studios in Glendale. In the short-term future, Faurlin says that the company has submitted a bid to install wi-fi systems for the City of Covina. But in the next decade, he anticipates that the company will continue to expand very rapidly. “We’ve opened two offices in the last two years and we’ll continue this expansion,” Faurlin said. “The idea is to get to 10 offices in 10 years. The Fortune 500 companies that we work with are spread out across the nation, and this will enable us to more readily service them.”

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