Digital 299 wants to be California’s next fiber highway

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

A 200+ mile long fiber optic project that would link the northern California coast to the Sacramento Valley and cost $73 million to build was turned in to the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday. The intention is to secure a $51 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund to pay for 70% of the cost.

The Digital 299 proposal was submitted by Inyo Networks, a growing last and middle mile fiber optic company which operates the Digital 395 project that links Reno to Barstow and stretches 500 miles down the eastern side of California. The company has two other grant applications in front of the CPUC, one for last mile service to communities along the Digital 395 route and another – the Trans Sierra project – linking the Reno terminus to Sacramento and serving isolated communities in between.

This latest proposal is similar, in that it includes a handful of last mile projects in communities along State Route 299 between Eureka and Redding, and provides opportunities for other service providers to upgrade broadband broadband speeds and reliability for even more homes. Yesterday’s application talks about reaching 1,000 homes but that’s just for the four last mile service areas in Lewiston, Douglas City, Hayfork and Burnt Ranch. The under and unserved region along the Digital 299 route encompasses something like 10,000 eligible homes, at least according to a quick estimate I ran yesterday.

The project includes plans to reach more than a hundred government sites, including schools and public safety facilities, as well as hospitals and clinics.

Click here to download the Digital 299 project summary

I’m not directly involved with the Digital 299 project, but I am working on the Trans Sierra proposal. I’m not a disinterested commentator, take it for what it’s worth.