CPUC Approves $5 Million for central California coast broadband project

by Steve Blum • , , , , , , , ,

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a $4,975,009 grant from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) on Friday, 20 November 2009. The grant pays for 10% of the approximately $50 million fiber optic trunk line network planned for Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties on California’s central coast.

CCBC system map

CCBC’s CASF and associated federal stimulus grant applications are managed by Tellus Venture Associates, which also does the financial planning and budgeting for the project. In August, the CCBC submitted a proposal for a $40 million grant to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the Rural Utility Service’s (RUS) Broadband Initiatives Program. The remaining $5 million has already been committed by consortium members.

CPUC’s approval follows endorsements by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and congressman Sam Farr, who represents the three county region. NTIA and RUS are reviewing the grant proposal, with a decision expected next month.

The project would create a 428 mile fiber optic backbone linking unserved and underserved areas to better served communities, and connecting the entire region to Tier 1 Internet facilities in Silicon Valley. Using a loop architecture, any point on the network would have two independent paths to any other point, and to the Internet.

Current plans are for the system to be operated by a cooperative, which will offer access on a wholesale basis to last-mile Internet service providers and major institutional customers.