Desert communities get competing broadband subsidies from California, feds.
The Anza Electric Cooperative will get $2.7 million from the California Advanced Services Fund to build a fiber to the home system throughout its service area in western Riverside County. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the grant at its meeting on thursday. According to the resolution…
This project is economical and provides a wide benefit. The CASF per-household subsidy is $710 per household (based on 3,751 households that will have access). This state subsidy, when compared to previous subsidies provided through the CASF program for fiber projects, is low. The number of households that Anza proposes to pass would be the fourth largest CASF last-mile project in terms of households served and the area served in terms of square miles would be the highest for all approved CASF last-mile projects.
Only one protest was received, from a resident served by the co-op who didn’t like the project. She was one of only a few who felt that way, though: according to the co-op, 91% of voting members – i.e. customers – said yes to the project when the question was put to them.
As it stands, the Federal Communications Commission will be giving a competing subsidy to Frontier Communications – something like $1.6 million, by my rough estimate – to upgrade the decaying Verizon system in the area to provide DSL service at 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up levels. By contrast, the Anza co-op will offer symmetrical fiber-based service, starting at 50 Mbps for $50 per month. The CPUC’s resolution doesn’t mention the conflict, but it doesn’t really need to do so: the FCC’s rural standard doesn’t meet Californian minimums which require at least 1.5 Mbps upload speeds as well as 6 Mbps down.