Tag Archives: inyo

California broadband grant proposed for FTTH in Nicasio

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

The western Marin County town of Nicasio is in the hunt for for a $1.7 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to build a fiber to the home broadband system. The application was submitted by Inyo Networks, which is involved in several pending CASF project proposals as well as the already operating Digital 395 system. According to the publicly posted summary

The area is fully “wireline unserved” by the [incumbent telephone company] and is not served by a cable television service provider alternative either. Representatives of the community led by the Nicasio Landowners Association (NLOA) have been unsuccessful in efforts to get the incumbent telephone company serving the area to extend broadband services into the Nicasio community and the surrounding area. Once fully built out the proposed project will serve 215 single family dwellings, the Nicasio School (public K-8), Volunteer Fire Department Headquarters, and County Public Works Corporation Yard and two wireless transmitter sites (220 units total) in order to improve wireless services to outlying buildings in the West Marin area.

AT&T is the incumbent telco. There’s no existing cable franchise in Nicasio or the surrounding area, although Comcast claims the more densely populated eastern and southern parts of Marin County. Verizon and AT&T offer mobile service but, according to the California Public Utilities Commission’s online broadband map, neither meets the minimum 6 Mbps down/1.5 Mbps up service level. Whether they fail so miserably that the project area qualifies as being completely unserved, and therefore eligible to have 70% of the construction costs covered by CASF remains to be seen. If not, the subsidy would drop to 60% and the hit to CASF would presumably be $1.5 million.

California mountain community requests $759K for FTTH

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

A fiber to the home project in the Tahoe Basin in eastern Placer County has been proposed for a construction subsidy from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Submitted by Inyo Networks – one of the companies involved in the Digital 395 network in eastern California – the grant application asks for $759,000, which is 70% of the total $1.1 million project cost…

The proposed Alpine Peaks Broadband Project will serve a designated “Priority Area” community in the Upper Ward Canyon area of eastern Placer County. Representatives of the community have been unsuccessful in efforts to get the Incumbent telephone and cable companies serving the surrounding areas to extend broadband services into the community of 95 households.

The project proposes a Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) Last Mile network…This technology will replace a 1973 vintage direct buried coaxial network that has deteriorated to such an extent that it has been rendered inoperable and thus has been abandoned.

Initially, the network will support symmetrical 1 Gbps broadband service, as well as voice and video, and could be upgraded to 10 Gbps in the future.

A total of 23 projects were either held over from the last round of CASF project applications or proposed in the current round, which began last December. At that point, there was something like $160 million available to be spent on building broadband infrastructure in California. One – ViaSat’s massive satellite terminal deployment – was rejected. Four projects totalling $5.8 million have been approved; the remaining 18 proposals are asking for a total of $161 million – about $7 million more than is in the kitty.

Tellus Venture Associates assisted the Tahoe broadband consortium’s development of the Alpine Peaks project. I’m not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

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.

Two projects ask for $99 million California broadband subsidy

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Two big requests were filed with the California Public Utilities Commission today. Race Telecommunications is asking for $48 million to build a fiber-to-the-home system in San Bernardino County, and Inyo Networks wants $51 million to link Eureka to Redding with fiber along State Route 299.

I’ll have more on Digital 299 in tomorrow’s blog post, and on Gigafy Phelan on Wednesday. If you’re keeping track, there’s now $173 million in proposals chasing about $156 million in the California Advanced services fund kitty. More on that later this week, too.

Digital 395 proposes Inyo County FTTH expansion

by Steve Blum • , , , , ,

Four more remote towns in the eastern California desert are in line for gigabit-class fiber-to-the-home service, thanks to the Digital 395 middle mile network that stretches more than 500 miles down the east side of the Sierra Nevada, from Reno to Barstow.

Inyo Networks – one of the companies behind the Digital 395 project – is asking the California Public Utilities Commission for $4.4 million to extend its middle fiber another 20 miles, reaching from Olancha to Keeler and Darwin, and to build FTTH systems in those three communities, plus the nearby town of Cartago. It’s part of an effort by Inyo County to bring fiber-based broadband service to residents and businesses.

At first glance it looks expensive: there are a total of 265 homes in the four communities, and not all of those are occupied. Darwin actually has more houses than people – census data shows 46 housing units versus a population of 43. On the average, it’ll cost the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) $17,000 per home to subsidise construction. That’s a mere pittance, though, compared to the $74,000 each the CPUC approved for five homes of dubious occupancy in the Rush Creek area of Fresno County last year.

According to the project summary circulated by Inyo Networks, all the homes in the project area are unserved, which means there’s no broadband service at all. Assuming the CPUC validates that claim, that gives the project top priority for CASF money at a nominal subsidy rate of 70%, as opposed to the 60% most projects – which lean heavily towards underserved areas – get.

Tellus Venture Associates is working with Inyo Networks, via CPUC-funded regional broadband consortia, on broadband grant proposals in the current CASF round, although not the South Inyo County project. But however you slice it, I am not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

Praxis picked to build and run FTTH network in California’s Owens Valley

by Steve Blum • , , , , ,

“We’re in contract negotiations with Praxis now, and we hope to have a contract by February 10th”, Brandon Shults, the information services director for Inyo County, announced yesterday at the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium’s annual conference in Ridgecrest. He was talking about the 21st Century Obsidian Project, an ambitious effort to build a fiber to the home system down the western half of Inyo County – in other words, the Owens Valley.

Praxis is the company behind the Digital 395 middle mile fiber project, which runs north to south through the project area. It was one of two companies that submitted plausible responses to the request for proposal Inyo County floated last year. Responsibility for putting the funding together, and then building and running the system would fall to Praxis, but not ownership or end user service. According to the RFP

It is required that the network be an Open Access network. At the time of this request the County expects a three-layer model: the County will own the infrastructure; the selected respondent will manage, operate, and maintain the network; and services will be provided by third-party retailers.

There’s just under 8,000 homes in Inyo. All but a relative handful are in the project area, with the town of Bishop accounting for about two-thirds.

The RFP left the problem of paying for the system up to the bidder…

The County is aware of potential funding from sources such as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the venture capital fund Govtech, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the iBank, locally issued bonds and crowd-sourcing such as that facilitated though various frameworks (funded.com, croudfunded.com, indiegogo.com, etc.) and other sources.

The County anticipates that respondents will have experience developing business cases as well as identifying and securing funding for projects of similar constitution. The County expects that the selected respondent will work with the County to articulate business cases and identify and secure funding whether from the County, the respondent, or a combination thereof.

Shults didn’t give any details about the funding or the business model under discussion. The contract hasn’t been finalised, so that’s to be expected. Praxis has come through on long shot proposals before: Digital 395 was nearly completely paid for by grants, about $80 million from the federal stimulus program and about $30 million from the California Advanced Services Fund.