Crunch time for CASF applications


Friday is the deadline for would-be applicants to the California Advanced Service Fund. Projects proposed for underserved, or combined unserved and underserved, areas have to be filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) by 5:00 p.m.

So far, four projects have been circulated to the CASF email distribution list:

  • The Big Dipper project, an upgrade to microwave radio links to improve broadband service in Placer County. They’re asking for a $117 thousand grant.
  • The Olinda project, a $1.8 million grant request for an upgrade to telephone infrastructure in Shasta County.
  • The Winterhave project. It’s similar to the Olinda proposal, but it’s in Imperial County and asks for $2 million in grant money.
  • Rancho Tehama FTTH Network. A $3.1 million grant proposal for a gigabit fiber to the home system in Tehama County.

So far, the total is just about $7 million. But the big rush will come tomorrow. Expect at least a dozen and quite likely more.

There are at least a couple of big, multi-million dollar middle mile projects in the pipeline, one in northeastern California and another on the central coast. Plus the five applicants from the October round are likely to be back. Word is their proposed service areas did not qualify as completely unserved. They can refile tomorrow.

Odds are, the requests will exceed the amount of money currently available in the CASF kitty. CPUC will use a scoring system to sort the winners and losers. First though, the proposals have to make a screening and challenge process. That’s why the five projects from last year have to come back and try again.

And I bet you thought the Super Bowl was the only game on this weekend.

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.