Connecting Rural California

Connect with us about RDOF

If you’re looking for information about RDOF buildout in your area, or are a vendor interested in working with us, please click the button below and fill out the form.

Etheric’s RDOF Adventure

Etheric Communications will receive funding over the next ten years to deploy high-speed broadband to underserved communities in California.

This will provide Etheric with unprecedented resources to provide desperately needed internet
to rural areas on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Etheric will use this opportunity to fulfill its commitment to the socially responsible mission of making internet available to all who need it, while touching the Earth lightly.

The Assignment

Etheric Communications is the auction winner for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support in census blocks covering portions of the northern California coast and the Sierra Nevadas. 

This is some of the most challenging terrain in the United States.

Fortunately, this is what we do best.

The Challenge

In discussions with education, government and broadband coalitions, the interconnection of communications (internet); fire, environmental and agricultural telemetry; and renewable energy to establish and maintain a robust, clean grid were brought up repeatedly.

Another consistent set of topics focused on transparency and acknowledgement of each community’s own goals for broadband deployment.

The following is a preview of our proposed network.

Etheric is committed to bridging the digital divide, because everyone deserves to be connected to their world, no matter where they live.

The Proposal

To meet the future connectivity needs of consumers, public safety, enterprise and governmental customers, Etheric proposes to deliver 1 Gbps/500 Mbps voice and broadband connectivity using a hybrid approach that relies on a combination of dark fiber, wave services, and licensed and unlicensed mid-band and millimeter wave spectrum.

Some of the assigned areas are quite remote and do not even have basic cellular service. This new infrastructure will improve emergency services capabilities by increasing connectivity in fire and flood zones.

Collaboration is Key

We seek to collaborate with local Internet Service Providers to integrate them into our system, increasing the visibility of quality local small- and medium-sized businesses while saving resources by notably improving fiber connectivity in these regions. 

We are in talks with many fiber providers to improve fiber interconnections in this region.

We Are Invested

Etheric has invested significant resources to ensure the success of this program. We have assembled sufficient licensed spectrum to provide Gigabit Tier service using licensed spectrum to more than 90% of the locations within our RDOF footprint. 

The remaining 10% will be covered with links using a combination of fiber and unlicensed spectrum. 

For middle mile access, we plan to use a combination of fiber and licensed microwave.

Proposed Network Plan

We will leverage our existing management, technology, experience, support staff and other assets to construct, operate and maintain the supported networks. Our proposed network will:

  1. Deliver 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) download and 500 Megabit per second (Mbps) upload speeds with low latency to every location in our assigned census blocks.
  2. Leverage a combination of existing fiber and towers and new construction fiber runs and fixed wireless transmit sites.
  3. Complete construction in six years or less.

Etheric’s Roots

Etheric Networks first launched broadband service in 2003. It currently serves approximately 2,000 residential and 800 enterprise and small business customers across 10 counties in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. 

Etheric has grown its coverage area to what is now estimated to be the 9th largest WISP footprint in North America.

Etheric developed custom frequency management software to optimize a large production radio area network in some of the most challenging RF environments in the country.

Etheric’s Backbone

In 2015, Etheric acquired a dark fiber ring circling the Bay Area to create redundant microwave and dark fiber backbones. 

This infrastructure will make launching the RDOF build vastly more efficient and rapid. 

Etheric has consistently brought new technology
to market before its peers, ranking 1st nationally in latency, upload and even download at various points in its history.

We deliver service through a combination of fixed wireless, LTE and DWDM/GPON technologies.

Etheric’s Heart

Etheric is a preferred partner of Fortune 100 businesses, startups, construction companies, residents and entire communities in and around the Bay Area. We are known for our rapid, professional deployment of reliable broadband to difficult to reach or underserved areas. 

We have well-trained climbing techs, own and maintain the tallest tower in the Bay Area, build solar carrier class fixed wireless base stations, own and operate bobcats, and terminate fiber.

Our customers know how to reach us and trust us to keep them connected.

Etheric’s Solution

Our proposed network will vastly extend our current operational network, with adjustments in the area of core, backbone and distribution, so that it is scalable, secure and reliable. The 5G core will be integrated into the existing core to enable the 5G RAN and also make our network future proof. The data network will add additional layer 2 edge network enhancements (VXLAN) to enable projection of core compute services to the edge network.

Etheric’s Core

Our proposed IP network design will leverage our existing redundant Data Centers to provide scalable Tier 1 Internet peering. 

Currently, BGP connections are in place across myriad direct Internet Exchange locations – from geographically redundant Tier 1 service providers (Level III, CenturyLink, and NTT America) to key content providers (Google, Netflix, Microsoft, etc.) Our proposal adds LTE/5G core functionality to those existing hardened Tier 1 data centers. 

The 5G core will thus be a standalone model with redundant core servers, i.e. a greenfield deployment specifically designed for our fixed wireless network. 

We will also transition our existing dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 configurations to primarily IPv6.

Backbone & Distribution

Currently in our assigned census blocks there are many gaps and with under- or un-utilized fiber paths. 

Although communities and metro fiber owners are supportive and optimistic about the RDOF initiative, projects in counties such as San Mateo, Santa Cruz Mountains and Coastal Fiber Ring still have many gaps and unused fiber paths.

Our proposed solution will bring dark fiber as close as possible to these census blocks and
cut wireless hops in half compared to existing networks in the area. Our Base Stations can obtain from 10 to 40 Gbps of backhaul via fixed wireless. Backhaul traffic will also be aggregated througha cost effective combination of microwave and millimeter wave backhaul. 

We currently use Arista routers in conjunction with ADVA and passive DWDM to offer VXLAN, and 5G services at our tower as well as our XXX-3GPP core.

Access Network

Our proposed mid-band technologies include 3.6 GHz CBRS, 5-6 GHz UNII, subleasing of 2.5, and 3.7GHz. Our millimeter wave will include solutions using UMFUS 24-38GHz, & V-Band 57-66GHz. With these technologies, beamforming, massive MIMO, and advanced RF signal processing promise significantly improved performance.

Where LOS or density otherwise prohibits use of Fixed Wireless, we will also deploy GPON fiber from a distribution Hub (Lit building/Macro Tower/ Gigacell).

In conclusion, our proposed hybrid fiber-wireless solution is both robust and effective, due to its
use of a variety of solutions for Gigabit, 10G, and terrabit services. 

Each solution has evaluative tradeoffs with cost, speed, community input, energy efficiency, scalability, and roadmapping – thus offering more flexibility than a homogeneous approach. 

With CBRS as a catalyst, our hybrid solution synergizes network building approaches from WISPs, governmental internet services, enterprise and traditional telcos, and fiber companies.

Connect with us about RDOF

If you’re looking for information about RDOF buildout in your area, or are a vendor interested in working with us, please click the button below and fill out the form.

Etheric Networks Partners with ALERTWildfire to Support Bay Area Fire Emergency Readiness

Etheric Networks supports early wildfire detection efforts through the installation of cameras on its new tower in San Ramon

Etheric Networks, the leading provider of wireless internet service in the Bay Area, today announced it has partnered with ALERTWildfire to provide free access to its newest tower in San Ramon. Live images are available to emergency dispatchers and to the public at

Etheric Networks Partners with Alert Wildfire

Etheric’s San Ramon tower with Alert Wildfire Camera installed.

Ahead of the looming fire season, Etheric Networks, realizes the importance of helping local and bi-state efforts to detect wildfires soon after they start. As of January 2020, ALERTWildfire has installed 13 state-of-the-art Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras in the North Bay, with a goal of installing 200 new cameras statewide in 2020.

• University consortium taps state and local businesses – A consortium of universities, including the University of Nevada, Reno, University of California, San Diego and University of Oregon are working together through ALERTWildfire to install fire cameras and provide associated tools to help firefighters and first responders.


 • Using technology to detecting a wildfire before it spreads – The cameras are able to detect wildfires soon after they start and when installed in a location with a 360° view, the near-infrared sensors can spot the signature of heat on up to 5,000 square miles, and up to 20,000 square miles at night. A supercomputer attached to the network of cameras models the fire’s spread in 30 seconds, predicting where it will burn over the next several hours.

• Taking advantage of existing infrastructure – One of two newest additions to its growing network, Etheric’s tower in San Ramon will be part of the initiative to install dozens of fire cameras around the state. Etheric’s 30+ towers provide wireless internet to the Bay Area and are working with emergency teams to identify additional locations for these “digital forest rangers.”

John Cornell, Emergency Preparedness Director, City of Lafayette Police Department, said: “The damage that fire can do and the speed it can spread make early detection efforts critical. Our goal is to build partnerships that will support first responders and alert neighborhoods. Sponsorships and partners that provide camera locations, like Etheric Networks, help our grant money go so much further, and we are grateful for their assistance.”

Alexander Hagen, CEO, Etheric Networks, said: “We are proud to be able to help this consortium with its efforts to ensure that wildfires are quickly and efficiently identified, mitigated and tracked. As we move into fire season, it is more important than ever that those of us that have the infrastructure to support such an effort do so, without cost and through concerted collaboration. We are thrilled to be able to help this effort today and, in the future, and encourage other tower owners in the Bay Area to join us.”

The ALERTWildfire team can assist in building fire camera infrastructure from the ground up, and/or use existing infrastructure to rapidly deploy a system in just a few months. For more information, please contact John Cornell at

Etheric Networks Completes Purchase of Mt. Madonna Tower

Field Technician, Shannon Jolin, on the Mt. Madonna tower. 

Expanded service areas deliver high-speed wireless internet to meet rising demand for reliable home connections and dedicated community networks

SAN MATEO, CA, UNITED STATES, April 22, 2020 / — Etheric Networks, the leading provider of wireless internet service in the Bay Area, today announced the purchase of the Mt. Madonna communications tower in Gilroy and the addition of new towers in Gilroy and San Ramon. This expansion brings significant new internet options to thousands more Bay Area businesses and residences and strengthens Etheric’s ability to support robust private community networks.

Shelter-in-place restrictions have forced businesses, schools and social groups to work, learn and build community in new ways, most of them online. Many of these changes could be permanent, making access to reliable internet an even more critical part of our infrastructure. Today’s news furthers Etheric’s goal of reaching 90 percent of Bay Area households and businesses with 99.999% reliability to meet this need.

MT. MADONNA ACQUISITION YEARS IN THE MAKING – In 2004, in response to repeated requests from South County residents for fixed wireless service to their remote area, Etheric partnered with the residents to lease the 1400’ tall KSBW tower on Mt. Madonna in Gilroy, and the company’s first wireless services began in 2005. When the tower faced demolition in 2007, Etheric once again turned to its customers to crowd-source its purchase, finalized in 2009. Etheric has now paid back all of its investors, and Mt Madonna continues to be the flagship of Etheric’s fleet of 35+ towers that provide high-speed wireless internet to most of the Bay Area, including hard-to-reach mountain and rural communities.

NEW TOWERS EXPAND SERVICE IN KEY REGIONS – The two newest additions to the Etheric fleet were lit in the first quarter of 2020. Providing service to residences and business to the San Ramon and Gilroy/San Martin areas, these towers continue Etheric’s goal of reaching communities that are underserved by traditional internet providers. Additionally, the new Gilroy tower is Etheric’s first to be entirely energy independent, with solar power to ensure that internet service is not interrupted by power outages.

MEETING NEW DEMANDS FOR PRIVATE COMMUNITY NETWORKS – Already an emerging trend, interest in creating communication hubs to provide needed bandwidth to those working and learning from home has increased significantly in recent weeks. Etheric’s dedicated fiber backbone and one-hop peering connections to all major Bay Area data centers, combined with its robust wireless broadband capabilities allows the company to rapidly deploy community-wide solutions that can offer significant savings for members.

Alexander Hagen, CEO, Etheric Networks, said: “These are extraordinary times, as households and organizations struggle to obtain reliable broadband access for working and learning from home. We are seeing an incredible demand, and our investment in new infrastructure could not have come at a better time. Etheric was founded by bringing our customers together, and we are dedicated to continuing this legacy as we explore new ways to provide powerful services to our community while touching the land lightly.”

To learn more about Etheric Networks visit or call 650-525-2535.

About Etheric Networks
Etheric Networks is a leading internet service provider dedicated to delivering fast, reliable, and affordable, connectivity for business, SOHO and residential clients. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Etheric spans the greater Bay Area, using a wholly owned fiber optic backbone and licensed broadband fixed wireless towers.