Mono County homes line up for gigabit service

Not well served. Yet.

Four small communities in southern Mono County could be getting gigabit class fiber to the home service by the end of 2015. The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to consider a resolution to spend $4.7 million on an FTTH project for the Aspen Springs, Chalfant, Crowley Lake and Sunny Slopes areas at its 26 June 2014 meeting.

The project was proposed last year by Race Telecommunications, one of five the company submitted in the current round of applications to the California Advanced Services Fund. Two projects – in the Tehachapi area and in Boron, both Kern County – were approved last year. The other two – in California City and Mojave – were pulled following a successful challenge by Charter Communications, the incumbent cable company. Previously warned that an application was coming, Charter upgraded its cable modem service in those two cities, making CASF funding for FTTH systems impossible.

The Mono County project encompasses 727 homes, for an average subsidy of $6,400 each. That’s higher than Race’s other two approved projects, but far less than the tens of thousands of bucks per household approved for CASF-funded projects in Fresno and Madera Counties.

The plan is to spend some of the money building a backbone connection to the Digital 395 middle mile system that runs through Mono County – also built, in part, with CASF subsidies. The incumbent cable company, Suddenlink, initially challenged the project but later withdrew the protest after determining it wouldn’t be able to leverage Digital 395 to upgrade service in those areas, as it did in nearby Mammoth Lakes.