Biz Buzz: SLO folks gaga over faster Google

Some in San Luis Obispo want the city to formally apply to become a trial location for Google’s recently announced fiber-optic experiment.

Google says the ultra-high-speed broadband network would provide Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what currently exist. In its description of the concept, Google said such a network would allow someone living in a rural area to discuss a medical condition with a specialist in New York while streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the Web. As other examples of how such a network would work, high-definition, full-length feature films could be downloaded in less than five minutes; and students at colleges around the world could watch live three-dimensional video of a university lecture.

“We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections,” Google said in its announcement of the project. “We’ll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000, and potentially up to 500,000 people.”

A request-for-information period opened Feb. 10 and will close March 26, Google said. Municipal governments as well as the public can apply.

The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce has offered to partner with the city to apply for the Google trial — saying that it will be a powerful tool for local economic development and could potentially attract more entrepreneurs to the area.

City Manager Katie Lichtig said San Luis Obispo is looking into the experiment and will move forward with the application if it proves to benefit the community.

More than 1,200 people have already voiced support for the plan on a Facebook page entitled “Bring Google Fiber to San Luis Obispo.”

— AnnMarie Cornejo

Shared space good for Paso merchants

Two Paso Robles merchants said their recent move to share retail space has been a good way to pair likeminded ventures.

Mike Vihuela of Vihuela Winery and Danika Reed of Vivant Fine Cheese started the collaboration in September when Vihuela then moved into Vivant’s space at 840 11th St. in downtown Paso Robles.

The shop, now called V2 Bistro, offers wines, more than 150 cheeses, bistro food items and wine and cheese pairings.

“Technically, our businesses have not merged,” hospitality director Laura Zolnoski said. “We just share the space, and the name ‘V2’ represents our collaboration.”

Vihuela Winery was previously in the Park Street Alley, in the eatery where Thomas Hill Organics now operates. Vihuela’s employees moved with the shop, so V2 Bistro now has four employees aside from the owners, Zolnoski said. The 500-square-foot shop also features an 800-square-foot patio.

The European-style bistro hosts local musicians on the weekends, and has a menu that includes flatbread pizzas and homemade soups. Wines are available by the taste, glass or bottle. Cheeses are also available for purchase in retail and wholesale quantities.

— Tonya Strickland

Lampman & Smith marks 25 years

Lampman & Smith, a consulting and structural engineering firm in San Luis Obispo, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The firm was established in 1985 by principals Christopher I. Lampman and Michael F. Smith.

Today it employs four licensed professional engineers and two structural engineers.

The firm specializes in residential, commercial, retail, industrial, educational, military and health-care buildings and completes facility evaluations.

Lampman & Smith works on projects across the nation and internationally. Local projects of note include: Aerovista Business Park in San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay Fire Station No. 53, the National Geographic IMAX Theater at Hearst Castle, Simpson Material Demonstration Lab at Cal Poly and the Oceano Community Center.

— Julia Hickey