CASF application stack gets a little shorter


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) cleaned up the in-box today, putting two more California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant applications into the review process and tossing out two more. The grant request total shrunk to $239 million, still about $90 million more than is currently available from the CASF program.

There’s a smaller revolving loan program. The total requested from it now stands at $1.8 million, bringing the grand total for the February 2013 application round to $241 million.

The Shasta County Telecom proposal and the Humboldt and Del Norte Fiber project were officially posted, opening a three week challenge window. In order to be eligible, the service areas proposed have to qualify as “unserved” or “underserved”, and incumbents can challenge applications on that basis. The challenge deadline for the two projects is 15 March 2013.

Two proposals from Etheric Networks for $5.4 million in grants and $1.8 million in loans have been rejected. Etheric doesn’t have the necessary CPUC certification, and hadn’t asked for it by the application deadline.

As of 25 February 2013.

The CPUC started with a total of thirty-two infrastructure applications in the hopper. One, from, was quickly put into an “information only” category, also because the company wasn’t certified. Twenty-seven were deemed ready for posting, with a 4 March 2013 challenge deadline (except for one small, holdover project from the October round that had a shorter window).

The four remaining applications were not to spec and were marked as pending, until today. The Shasta County project appears to be unchanged from the original submission, but the Humboldt and Del Norte grant request was reduced from $23 million to $15 million during the fix-up process.

Tellus Venture Associates assisted with several CASF proposals in the current round. I’m not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

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.