$230 million and counting


At least $230 million in grant and loan proposals were sent to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) yesterday, and more is to come. I’ve seen a total of 29 projects from 15 different organizations. Most of the requests – almost $229 million – are for grants, but half a dozen also requested loans totaling nearly $2 million.

The CPUC doesn’t have that much money in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). They have something like $150 million left of their original authorization, but probably only about half that is in the bank. So the winnowing process is likely to be contentious.

As of 2 February 2013.

I’m expecting to see one other project in the $13 million range and there might be more. Information is coming via a email circulation list, and it’s not foolproof. One of the emails, from Shasta County Telecom, forgot to include the amount, but it looks like a small project, in the low six figures if that, so it won’t move the needle much.

If you assume that everyone made the maximum grant request of 60% of construction costs, we’re looking at $381 million in total project spending proposed.

Tellus Venture Associates is helping three of the applicants: Bright Fiber Network, Pinnacles Telephone Company and Surfnet. So I’m not exactly a disinterested source of information. But I’ll keep updating.

About Steve Blum

Steve Blum is president of Tellus Venture Associates, a management, planning and business development consultancy for municipal and community broadband initiatives. He is a 30-year industry veteran and an expert in developing new broadband infrastructure and services, including wireless, fiber optic and satellite systems. His career includes playing key roles in the launch and growth of DirecTv in the U.S., as well as other satellite broadcasting platforms around the world. For the past ten years, he has helped build municipal wireless and fiber optic broadband systems. His client list includes many California cities, such as San Leandro, Palo Alto, Oakland, Los Angeles, Lompoc and Folsom. He’s a member of the executive team for the Central Coast Broadband Consortium and has worked with other regional consortia in California. Steve is the author of seven books on the Internet and satellite broadcasting and is a frequent contributor to professional journals and industry events. He holds an A.B. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in East Asia Studies from the University of Washington, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas. He is a triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher, and is currently ranked in the top 100 of the Challenge Triathlon world rankings, out of more than 30,000 athletes.