Fiber to the home subsidies approved for two California communities

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Fiber to the cabin coming to Wrightwood.

The first two broadband infrastructure grants of the year, totaling $3.3 million, were approved last week by the California Public Utilities Commission. Ultimate Internet Access’s Helendale and Wrightwood projects sailed through on a unanimous vote by commissioners. Both are fiber to the home proposals promising to deliver a gigabit up and down to about a couple thousand residents each for $70 per month.

With one exception, the projects as approved were the same as originally outlined last month by CPUC staff. The only significant change was to the Wrightwood proposal. Instead of relying solely on wireless backhaul, it will add a fiber middle mile link…

Since the initial draft of this resolution, UIA has entered into an agreement with Charter Communications to lease an additional 1 Gbps fiber line into the Wrightwood community in order to supplement the microwave backhaul. The fiber line will provide additional bandwidth and redundancy to the project and will not affect total project costs for the purposes of this resolution.

The Helendale project, on the other hand, brings in bandwidth using just wireless backhaul. There is middle mile going through the town. Level 3, Zayo and Integra claim to have fiber there, although it’s likely all in the same cable, probably owned by Level 3. But that doesn’t mean it’s accessible.

There’s still plenty of money left the California Advanced Services Fund. The year started with something like $160 million available for infrastructure construction grants. In the unlikely event that all the pending grant applications are approved, there will still be more than $90 million left for projects.

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