Second round of funding coming for California broadband consortia

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Filling in the white spaces.

Most of the $225 million that’s being nicked off of California telephone bills and put into the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) goes toward building broadband infrastructure in areas that can’t get Internet service that meets the state’s minimum 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload standard. But $10 million has been set aside to pay for regional broadband consortia, which are groups that are made up of public and private sector organisations, usually representing several counties.

Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission began funding 14 regional broadband consortia, representing 49 counties. With the exception of Los Angeles County, which has two consortia receiving a total of $2.8 million, each group will receive about $450,000 spread out over three years, from 2012 through 2014. Adding in the money allowed for an annual meeting and three years of administrative expenses, just over $9 million has been earmarked.

Which leaves $950,000 still available to pay for regional broadband development in counties not covered yet or for additional work by existing consortia. The proposed CASF budget for next fiscal year says a “new round of Consortia project proposals are expected to be awarded”, likely sometime next year.

Groups have already formed in some of the counties without consortia and are expected to apply. And its a safe bet that existing consortia will come up with ideas for the money, too. No application dates or deadlines or process have been announced and probably won’t be for a few months. But expect it to come.

In the spirit of shameless self-promotion full disclosure, I’ll just point out that Tellus Venture Associates has a successful track record with consortia grant work.