Tag Archives: sb1130

Modern, future proof broadband gets a hearing in the California senate today, with public call in comments allowed

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

A faster and modern broadband speed standard for California is scheduled for its first hearing at the state capitol this afternoon. Senate bill 1130 by Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles) is set for a vote by the California senate’s energy, utilities and communications committee.

The hearing will be conducted partly in person, in the cavernous senate chamber, and partly online. One beneficial side effect of the covid–19 emergency is that Californians can participate in the legislative process and make their views known remotely, without having to trek to Sacramento and fight their way through the squads of hired guns and corporate lobbyists that usually occupy the halls and hearing rooms of the capitol. The committee posted a phone number and access code for call-in comments on its webpage. Check the page before you call in – numbers and procedures could change.

The bill would raise the minimum eligibility standard for infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) from 6 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload speeds – a level supported by 1990s technology – to 25 Mbps down/25 Mbps up. Broadband systems built with that money would have to deliver service at a minimum of 100 Mbps down/100 Mbps up, a speed level that only fiber can provide at consumer market prices and quantities, instead of the DSL-based 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up that the CASF program allows now.

Other provisions in the bill would require subsidised middle mile infrastructure to be offered to all on level terms – “open access”, in other words. Last mile projects might also have to be similarly available, depending on circumstances.

SB 1130 is quarterbacked by the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and includes a long list of supporting organisations. Including the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, which submitted a letter supporting the bill (full disclosure: I drafted and submitted it). As did the North Bay North Coast Broadband Consortium.

The committee staff analysis is posted online. It has a long list of supporters and a shorter, more predictable list of opponents, which includes Frontier Communications, Charter Communications’ and Comcast’s lobbying front organisation, and Charter itself. It contains some odd arguments against open access middle mile infrastructure – I don’t know who told staff that ISPs or local governments can’t figure out how to sell wholesale services. That’s nonsense – they do it all the time. It also recommends lowering the standard for subsidised infrastructure to speeds of 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up, which suits monopoly model incumbents who want to minimise investment and maximise profits by minimising service levels. The analysis also argues against raising broadband speed standards because urban and suburban communities might end up being eligible for upgrade subsidies. It is not a particularly well informed analysis, unless you think monopoly model cable and telephone companies are the best source of information.

Rumblings from Sacramento indicate that the usual bunch of big cable and telco incumbents, and their non-profit fellow travellers, are working to kill the bill. Although they haven’t all gone on record yet, it’s the same cast of characters that gutted the CASF program in 2017 and turned it into an incumbent-centric piggy bank. We’ll have a better idea of what that opposition looks like after the hearing today.

California broadband infrastructure grant requests total $533 million as challenge period opens

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Two more broadband project proposals surfaced as the California Public Utilities Commission posted the official list of applications for grants from the California Advanced Services Fund. One is for what appears to be a neighborhood fiber to the premise (FTTP) system in Nevada County, the other is an FTTP project that covers the same Placer County area that Charter Communications proposed for a hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) build.

The total now stands at 54 projects asking for a total of $533 million, about twice what’s available in the CASF kitty now. The entire list is below, but for future reference, I’ve also posted here, and will update that page as necessary.

Exwire, a Truckee-based wireless Internet service provider, wants to enter the wireline world by building an FTTP system in the Kingswood area of Lake Tahoe. It would serve, its application says, “240 homes and 110 unbuilt lots”. The ask is $4.5 million, or $19,000 per existing home. The public summary doesn’t say how much of its own money it proposes to put into the project, if any at all.

Charter Communications is also asking for a CASF grant to extend its Tahoe cable system to the Kingswood area. It’s requesting $1.2 million to pay the entire tab for building out HFC plant to 120 homes, at a cost of $10,000 each. Exwire proposes to serve what looks like a larger area, but its application also notes that the CPUC classifies some of it as already having broadband service, at least at the achingly slow level of 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds that the California legislature thinks is perfectly adequate. Exwire disputes the CPUC’s finding.

Nevada County Broadband – an apparently newly formed company – is asking for $552,000 – 94% of the total – to build an FTTP system in two small residential pockets in the mountains outside of Nevada City. They propose serving 50 homes at a cost of $11,000 each.

By posting all 54 applications and maps, the CPUC also kicks off a three week window for incumbent providers to challenge the proposals by submitting information that shows they’re already providing service in project areas. At that miserable 6 Mbps down/1 Mbps up level.

CASF Project Proposals – 4 May 2020 Grant Application Window

ProjectApplicantGrant
Request
Housing
Units
$/HUCountyTech
Bella VistaCharter$715,35660$11,923ShastaHFC
BrooksideCharter$933,563243$3,842Los AngelesHFC
Country MeadowsCharter$2,165,515314$6,897San BernardinoHFC
Darlene RoadCharter$815,9677$116,567VenturaHFC
El Dorado EstatesCharter$1,477,032276$5,352VenturaHFC
Foothill TerraceCharter$489,513327$1,497Los AngelesHFC
Kingswood EstatesCharter$1,210,006120$10,083PlacerHFC
Los AlisosCharter$1,299,530451$2,881OrangeHFC
Monterey ManorCharter$796,19892$8,654San BernardinoHFC
Mountain ShadowsCharter$2,006,811132$15,203San BernardinoHFC
Oxnard PacificCharter$1,725,964171$10,093VenturaHFC
Plaza VillageCharter$658,436178$3,699OrangeHFC
River OaksCharter$829,46245$18,432San BenitoHFC
RiverbankCharter$299,11543$6,956StanislausHFC
Soboda SpringsCharter$983,817249$3,951RiversideHFC
Villa MontclairCharter$548,27964$8,567San BernardinoHFC
Butte YubaDigital Path$872,761582$1,500Butte, YubaWireless
Fresno CountyDigital Path$448,349299$1,499FresnoWireless
Glenn CountyDigital Path$361,500241$1,500GlennWireless
Lake CountyDigital Path$123,00082$1,500LakeWireless
Mendocino CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500MendocinoWireless
Plumas LassenDigital Path$865,000577$1,499Plumas, LassenWireless
Sacramento CountyDigital Path$230,000154$1,494SacramentoWireless
Sierra CountyDigital Path$241,000161$1,497SierraWireless
Siskiyou CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500SiskiyouWireless
Sutter PlacerDigital Path$418,433277$1,511SutterWireless
Tehama CountyDigital Path$935,976624$1,500TehamaWireless
Central CoastEtheric$3,180,3301,976$1,609Monterey, San BenitoWireless
Kingswood WestExwire$4,464,478240$18,602PlacerFTTP
Crescent CityFrontier$1,586,885134$11,842Del NorteFTTP
CuyamaFrontier$12,462,755131$95,136Kern, Santa BarbaraFTTP
GarbervilleFrontier$3,776,254106$35,625HumboldtFTTP
HerlongFrontier$7,668,801273$28,091LassenFTTP
Knights LandingFrontier$4,590,845104$44,143Colusa, Sutter, YoloFTTP
Lake IsabellaFrontier$9,595,168405$23,692KernFTTP
Mad RiverFrontier$8,169,979203$40,246Humboldt, TrinityFTTP
Northeast Phase 2Frontier$10,358,969502$20,635Plumas, TehamaFTTP
PiercyFrontier$7,797,273805$9,686MendocinoFTTP
Smith RiverFrontier$1,428,47955$25,972Del NorteFTTP
Hoopa ValleyHunter$8,233,3401,198$6,873HumboldtFTTP, wireless
Mendocino CountyHunter$290,327,9405,870$49,460MendocinoFTTP, wireless
Buckeye/BannerNevada County Fiber$589,64850$11,793NevadaFTTP
Long ValleyPlumas Sierra$4,118,25554$76,264PlumasFTTP
Mohawk ValleyPlumas Sierra$2,271,03954$42,056PlumasFTTP
PortolaPlumas Sierra$2,587,67785$30,443PlumasFTTP
Scott RoadPlumas Sierra$4,307,47588$48,949Lassen, SierraFTTP
Sierra ValleyPlumas Sierra$5,123,342283$18,104Plumas, SierraFTTP, wireless
Southern LassenPlumas Sierra$13,630,662868$15,704LassenFTTP
Gigafy ArbuckleRace$4,241,181480$8,836ColusaFTTP
Gigafy Backus 2Race$4,702,649266$17,679KernFTTP
Gigafy Nevada CityRace$6,154,776499$12,334NevadaFTTP
Gigafy WilliamsRace$6,758,805588$11,495ColusaFTTP
Sonoma/NapaWeb Perception$1,450,697504$2,878Napa. SonomaWireless
West Sonoma CountyWiConduit$81,886,0951,342$61,018SonomaFTTP
Total$533,190,37923,116$23,066

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) supported Charter’s San Benito County proposal and assisted Etheric Networks with its application. The Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium (CCABC) assisted DigitalPath. I assisted the CCBC and the CCABC, and also kibitzed on other projects. I’m not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

Newsom’s budget revision hints at broadband policy change, adds money for mapping

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Although governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget proposal has gloomy news for many publicly funded services and agencies in California, there’s a bright spot of sorts for broadband development. Newsom wants to spend an extra $2.8 million on broadband speed testing and mapping, via the California Public Utilities Commission’s CalSpeed program…

To identify which areas of the state lack sufficient access to broadband, the May Revision includes $2.8 million and 3 positions in additional resources…for the Commission to enhance its broadband mapping activities. This additional information will better inform the state’s broadband infrastructure grant program, improve safety by providing broadband speed data at emergency response locations such as fairgrounds, and enhance the state’s ability to compete for federal broadband funding.

The May Revision proposes statute intended to increase the ability of the state to compete for federal funding to improve access to broadband Internet in California.

Like his original January budget proposal, Newsom’s revision doesn’t include money for broadband infrastructure, beyond what the state already spends, mostly through the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

The vague mention – twice – of better competing for federal broadband money provides a clue to where money might come from for broadband upgrades in communities that don’t offer sufficiently lucrative revenue streams to meet the profit goals of AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Frontier and friends. What the “statute” that’ll improve California competitive position will do wasn’t spelled out, but one possibility is raising the pitiful 6 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload speed standard that those incumbents paid lawmakers million of dollars for argued eloquently for in the most recent CASF legislation. There’s a bill – senate bill 1130 – scheduled for a senate committee hearing next week that will do that.

Newsom also proposes to “loan” $420 million from special CPUC accounts to the general fund, including $60 million from CASF. Presumably that’s a temporary cash flow management tactic, and not a permanent reduction for CASF. But it needs watching. As the assembly 1665 debacle demonstrated, what the legislature giveth, the legislature can also taketh away.

Wide swing on costs for California broadband subsidy proposals, for fiber and copper

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Swing dance

Of the 52 applications for broadband infrastructure grants from the California Advanced Services Fund, 23 are for fiber to the premise (FTTP) builds of one kind or another, 16 are hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) projects, all submitted by Charter Communications, and 13 would be for fixed wireless facilities.

The least expensive proposals are, naturally enough, fixed wireless projects, most of which are in the $1,500 per home range. It’s probably no coincidence that the California Public Utility Commission’s benchmark price for wireless subsidies is also $1,500 per home.

Three of the proposed FTTP projects include fixed wireless add ons, to extend coverage to outlying homes. The numbers for each aren’t always broken out in the published project summaries, so my dollars per home unit number lumps them all together. You’d think that the combo FTTP/wireless projects would have lower costs per home than pure FTTP builds – wireless is a lot cheaper to deploy than fiber. But that isn’t the case – the average cost for pure FTTP projects is $28,000 per home, while the combo builds come in at an average of $41,000 per home.

The reason for that isn’t completely clear, but it’s worth noting that all three reach into areas that cover a lot of sparsely populated ground. There’s also wide variance. The Hoopa Valley project in Humboldt County proposed by Hunter Communications is the least expensive at $6,900 per home. The published summary implies that the majority of last mile connections will be wireless. At the other end of the spectrum, the Mendocino County proposal, also by Hunter Communications, comes in at $49,000 per home. According to the summary, about ten percent of the homes reached by the project will get service via a wireless connection.

The cost of the 20 pure FTTP projects varies widely, from a low of $8,800 per home for Race Communications’ Gigafy Arbuckle proposal in Colusa County, to $95,000 per home for Frontier Communications’ build in Cuyama, in eastern Santa Barbara County. The cost of that project includes 82 miles of much needed middle mile fiber that connects Santa Maria on the coast to Maricopa in Kern County.

The most expensive project on a per home basis, though, is an old school copper and fiber HFC cable build, proposed by Charter Communications in the in a Moorpark neighborhood in Ventura County. That would cost $117,000 per home. On the other hand, Charter is also applying for a $1,500 per home grant in Los Angeles County, which is the least expensive wireline project in the hopper, and only three bucks a home more than the cheapest wireless proposal.

CASF Project Proposals – 4 May 2020 Grant Application Window

ProjectApplicantGrant
Request
Housing
Units
$/HUCountyTech
Bella VistaCharter$715,35660$11,923ShastaHFC
BrooksideCharter$933,563243$3,842Los AngelesHFC
Country MeadowsCharter$2,165,515314$6,897San BernardinoHFC
Darlene RoadCharter$815,9677$116,567VenturaHFC
El Dorado EstatesCharter$1,477,032276$5,352VenturaHFC
Foothill TerraceCharter$489,513327$1,497Los AngelesHFC
Kingswood EstatesCharter$1,210,006120$10,083PlacerHFC
Los AlisosCharter$1,299,530451$2,881OrangeHFC
Monterey ManorCharter$796,19892$8,654San BernardinoHFC
Mountain ShadowsCharter$2,006,811132$15,203San BernardinoHFC
Oxnard PacificCharter$1,725,964171$10,093VenturaHFC
Plaza VillageCharter$658,436178$3,699OrangeHFC
River OaksCharter$829,46245$18,432San BenitoHFC
RiverbankCharter$299,11543$6,956StanislausHFC
Soboda SpringsCharter$983,817249$3,951RiversideHFC
Villa MontclairCharter$548,27964$8,567San BernardinoHFC
Butte YubaDigital Path$872,761582$1,500Butte, YubaWireless
Fresno CountyDigital Path$448,349299$1,499FresnoWireless
Glenn CountyDigital Path$361,500241$1,500GlennWireless
Lake CountyDigital Path$123,00082$1,500LakeWireless
Mendocino CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500MendocinoWireless
Plumas LassenDigital Path$865,000577$1,499Plumas, LassenWireless
Sacramento CountyDigital Path$230,000154$1,494SacramentoWireless
Sierra CountyDigital Path$241,000161$1,497SierraWireless
Siskiyou CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500SiskiyouWireless
Sutter PlacerDigital Path$418,433277$1,511SutterWireless
Tehama CountyDigital Path$935,976624$1,500TehamaWireless
Central CoastEtheric$3,180,3301,976$1,609Monterey, San BenitoWireless
Crescent CityFrontier$1,586,885134$11,842Del NorteFTTP
CuyamaFrontier$12,462,755131$95,136Kern, Santa BarbaraFTTP
GarbervilleFrontier$3,776,254106$35,625HumboldtFTTP
HerlongFrontier$7,668,801273$28,091LassenFTTP
Knights LandingFrontier$4,590,845104$44,143Colusa, Sutter, YoloFTTP
Lake IsabellaFrontier$9,595,168405$23,692KernFTTP
Mad RiverFrontier$8,169,979203$40,246Humboldt, TrinityFTTP
Northeast Phase 2Frontier$10,358,969502$20,635Plumas, TehamaFTTP
PiercyFrontier$7,797,273805$9,686MendocinoFTTP
Smith RiverFrontier$1,428,47955$25,972Del NorteFTTP
Hoopa ValleyHunter$8,233,3401,198$6,873HumboldtFTTP, wireless
Mendocino CountyHunter$290,327,9405,870$49,460MendocinoFTTP, wireless
Long ValleyPlumas Sierra$4,118,25554$76,264PlumasFTTP
Mohawk ValleyPlumas Sierra$2,271,03954$42,056PlumasFTTP
PortolaPlumas Sierra$2,587,67785$30,443PlumasFTTP
Scott RoadPlumas Sierra$4,307,47588$48,949Lassen, SierraFTTP
Sierra ValleyPlumas Sierra$5,123,342283$18,104Plumas, SierraFTTP, wireless
Southern LassenPlumas Sierra$13,630,662868$15,704LassenFTTP
Gigafy ArbuckleRace$4,241,181480$8,836ColusaFTTP
Gigafy Backus 2Race$4,702,649266$17,679KernFTTP
Gigafy Nevada CityRace$6,154,776499$12,334NevadaFTTP
Gigafy WilliamsRace$6,758,805588$11,495ColusaFTTP
Sonoma/NapaWeb Perception$1,450,697504$2,878Napa. SonomaWireless
West Sonoma CountyWiConduit$81,886,0951,342$61,018SonomaFTTP
Total$528,136,25322,826$23,137

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) supported Charter’s San Benito County proposal and assisted Etheric Networks with its application. The Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium (CCABC) assisted DigitalPath. I assisted the CCBC and the CCABC, and also kibitzed on other projects. I’m not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

Total California broadband grant ask grows to $528 million, twice what’s available

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Sick piggy bank

The number of broadband infrastructure projects proposed for California Advanced Services Fund subsidies more than doubled on Tuesday, as two Internet service providers – Charter Communications and Digital Path – distributed summaries of the grant applications they submitted on Monday. The total, though, didn’t increase nearly as dramatically.

The count now stands at 52 project proposals totalling $528 million, up from 25 projects at $506 million. That’s against something like $300 million or less in the CASF broadband infrastructure account. The full list, including links to the public summaries, is below.

Charter is asking the California Public Utilities Commission to pay 100% of the cost of extending its hybrid fiber-coax networks to 16 Californian neighborhoods and 2,800 homes, stretching from Shasta County in the north to Orange County in the south. The total ask is $17 million, which comes out to a $6,100 subsidy per home. It also wants the same waivers of price guarantees and free installation it asked for and received when it applied for four grants and got three last year.

Like other wireless Internet service providers, Digital Path isn’t asking for a lot of money, at least compared to the wireline applicants. It wants $4.8 million for 11 wireless projects in the northern end of the state and the Central Valley which will cover 3,200 homes, at an average subsidy of $1,500 each. The project summaries it distributed yesterday are light on details, including how much, if any, skin the company is willing to put in the game or what it will charge customers. It doesn’t explicitly say that it’ll use unlicensed frequencies to deliver last mile service, but reading between the lines that appears to be the plan.

CASF Project Proposals – 4 May 2020 Grant Application Window

ProjectApplicantGrant
Request
Housing
Units
$/HUCountyTech
Bella VistaCharter$715,35660$11,923ShastaHFC
BrooksideCharter$933,563243$3,842Los AngelesHFC
Country MeadowsCharter$2,165,515314$6,897San BernardinoHFC
Darlene RoadCharter$815,9677$116,567VenturaHFC
El Dorado EstatesCharter$1,477,032276$5,352VenturaHFC
Foothill TerraceCharter$489,513327$1,497Los AngelesHFC
Kingswood EstatesCharter$1,210,006120$10,083PlacerHFC
Los AlisosCharter$1,299,530451$2,881OrangeHFC
Monterey ManorCharter$796,19892$8,654San BernardinoHFC
Mountain ShadowsCharter$2,006,811132$15,203San BernardinoHFC
Oxnard PacificCharter$1,725,964171$10,093VenturaHFC
Plaza VillageCharter$658,436178$3,699OrangeHFC
River OaksCharter$829,46245$18,432San BenitoHFC
RiverbankCharter$299,11543$6,956StanislausHFC
Soboda SpringsCharter$983,817249$3,951RiversideHFC
Villa MontclairCharter$548,27964$8,567San BernardinoHFC
Butte YubaDigital Path$872,761582$1,500Butte, YubaWireless
Fresno CountyDigital Path$448,349299$1,499FresnoWireless
Glenn CountyDigital Path$361,500241$1,500GlennWireless
Lake CountyDigital Path$123,00082$1,500LakeWireless
Mendocino CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500MendocinoWireless
Plumas LassenDigital Path$865,000577$1,499Plumas, LassenWireless
Sacramento CountyDigital Path$230,000154$1,494SacramentoWireless
Sierra CountyDigital Path$241,000161$1,497SierraWireless
Siskiyou CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500SiskiyouWireless
Sutter PlacerDigital Path$418,433277$1,511SutterWireless
Tehama CountyDigital Path$935,976624$1,500TehamaWireless
Central CoastEtheric$3,180,3301,976$1,609Monterey, San BenitoWireless
Crescent CityFrontier$1,586,885134$11,842Del NorteFTTP
CuyamaFrontier$12,462,755131$95,136Kern, Santa BarbaraFTTP
GarbervilleFrontier$3,776,254106$35,625HumboldtFTTP
HerlongFrontier$7,668,801273$28,091LassenFTTP
Knights LandingFrontier$4,590,845104$44,143Colusa, Sutter, YoloFTTP
Lake IsabellaFrontier$9,595,168405$23,692KernFTTP
Mad RiverFrontier$8,169,979203$40,246Humboldt, TrinityFTTP
Northeast Phase 2Frontier$10,358,969502$20,635Plumas, TehamaFTTP
PiercyFrontier$7,797,273805$9,686MendocinoFTTP
Smith RiverFrontier$1,428,47955$25,972Del NorteFTTP
Hoopa ValleyHunter$8,233,3401,198$6,873HumboldtFTTP, wireless
Mendocino CountyHunter$290,327,9405,870$49,460MendocinoFTTP, wireless
Long ValleyPlumas Sierra$4,118,25554$76,264PlumasFTTP
Mohawk ValleyPlumas Sierra$2,271,03954$42,056PlumasFTTP
PortolaPlumas Sierra$2,587,67785$30,443PlumasFTTP
Scott RoadPlumas Sierra$4,307,47588$48,949Lassen, SierraFTTP
Sierra ValleyPlumas Sierra$5,123,342283$18,104Plumas, SierraFTTP, wireless
Southern LassenPlumas Sierra$13,630,662868$15,704LassenFTTP
Gigafy ArbuckleRace$4,241,181480$8,836ColusaFTTP
Gigafy Backus 2Race$4,702,649266$17,679KernFTTP
Gigafy Nevada CityRace$6,154,776499$12,334NevadaFTTP
Gigafy WilliamsRace$6,758,805588$11,495ColusaFTTP
Sonoma/NapaWeb Perception$1,450,697504$2,878Napa. SonomaWireless
West Sonoma CountyWiConduit$81,886,0951,342$61,018SonomaFTTP
Total$528,136,25322,826$23,137

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) supported Charter’s San Benito County proposal and assisted Etheric Networks with its application. The Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium (CCABC) assisted DigitalPath. I assisted the CCBC and the CCABC, and also kibitzed on other projects. I’m not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

California broadband subsidy requests break the bank at more than half a gigabuck

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Butch cassidy explosion

Update, 5 May 2020 08:43: Charter Communications dropped 16 grant applications totalling $17 million in the wee hours of the morning. I’ve updated the table, links and totals below accordingly. Stand by, there might be more to come.

At least 41 broadband infrastructure grant proposals totalling more than half a billion dollars landed at the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday. I say at least because public notifications don’t always get out immediately. There might be more once the dust settles. Most are for fiber to the premise (FTTP) service, with an average subsidy cost of $27,000 per home. The list, with links to project summaries, is below.

There’s something like $300 million, or maybe less, in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), so not everything proposed will be approved. It’s a new record for CASF, doubling the the $252 million requested in the 2013 round.

The big ask is from Hunter Communications for a $290 million hybrid fiber to the premise/fixed wireless build in Mendocino County. The Oregon-based company characterises its project as “last mile”, but an earlier proposal that the company distributed in April (when the project was a mere $105 million) called for a mix of middle and last mile infrastructure. Judging by yesterday’s summary, the spin and the mileage has changed but not the basic design.

The Mendocino build would be mostly along the U.S. 101 corridor, running the length of Mendocino County, from the Sonoma County line nearly to Humboldt County. It would serve 6,000 homes at a 100% subsidised cost of $49,000 each. About 600 of those homes would be reached by fixed wireless links, so the cost for fibered homes would be more than $50,000 each.

Hunter put in an application for a second project in Humboldt County, in partnership with the Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District. It’s also a hybrid fiber/wireless design, intended to serve 1,300 homes and businesses, mostly in “the highly rural, economically depressed homelands of the Hoopa Valley Tribe”. The subsidy cost is $6,900 per home, or $6,600 per location when businesses and anchor institutions are factored in. Hunter and the Hoopa Valley PUD are asking the CPUC to subsidise 86% of the project cost.

The Mendocino project is not the most expensive build on a per-home basis, though. WiConduit, a newly formed non-profit, put in a $82 million request to build FTTP infrastructure in west Sonoma County, likewise described as last mile, to 1,300 homes at a 100% subsidised cost of $61,000 each.

Frontier Communications is asking for $67 million for ten projects across California, ranging from Lake Isabella in Kern County to Crescent City in Del Norte County. The ten projects will reach 2,700 homes at an average subsidy of $25,000 each. Frontier, which filed for bankruptcy last month, is asking CASF to pay for 100% of the cost.

Plumas Sierra Telecommunications is also requesting 100% funding for six projects in its northeastern California territory. Five of the projects are pure FTTP and one is an FTTP/fixed wireless hybrid. The total comes to $32 million for 1,400 homes, for an average subsidy of $22,000.

Race Telecommunications has four FTTP project proposals on the table, at an 80% subsidy level. It’s asking the CPUC for $22 million to build out to 1,800 households, at an average subsidy of $12,000 each. Race is putting $5.5 million of skin in the game. Two projects are brand new systems in Colusa County; two projects are extensions of existing CASF-subsidised builds in Kern and Nevada counties.

Two pure wireless proposals are in the mix. Etheric Networks is asking for $3.2 million to pay for 60% of the cost of extending its fixed wireless system further into Monterey and San Benito counties, reaching 2,000 homes at a subsidy level of $1,600 each. Web Perception wants $1.5 million to serve 504 homes in Sonoma and Napa counties at $2,900 each, a 100% subsidy cost.

There’s still one project left over from 2019. The Karuk Tribe in Humboldt county applied for an extra $11 million for a middle and last mile project to reach 600 homes, mostly with wireless technology. The CPUC is scheduled to vote on that request on Thursday.

CASF Project Proposals – 4 May 2020 Grant Application Window

ProjectApplicantGrant
Request
Housing
Units
$/HUCountyTech
Bella VistaCharter$715,35660$11,923ShastaHFC
BrooksideCharter$933,563243$3,842Los AngelesHFC
Country MeadowsCharter$2,165,515314$6,897San BernardinoHFC
Darlene RoadCharter$815,9677$116,567VenturaHFC
El Dorado EstatesCharter$1,477,032276$5,352VenturaHFC
Foothill TerraceCharter$489,513327$1,497Los AngelesHFC
Kingswood EstatesCharter$1,210,006120$10,083PlacerHFC
Los AlisosCharter$1,299,530451$2,881OrangeHFC
Monterey ManorCharter$796,19892$8,654San BernardinoHFC
Mountain ShadowsCharter$2,006,811132$15,203San BernardinoHFC
Oxnard PacificCharter$1,725,964171$10,093VenturaHFC
Plaza VillageCharter$658,436178$3,699OrangeHFC
River OaksCharter$829,46245$18,432San BenitoHFC
RiverbankCharter$299,11543$6,956StanislausHFC
Soboda SpringsCharter$983,817249$3,951RiversideHFC
Villa MontclairCharter$548,27964$8,567San BernardinoHFC
Butte YubaDigital Path$872,761582$1,500Butte, YubaWireless
Fresno CountyDigital Path$448,349299$1,499FresnoWireless
Glenn CountyDigital Path$361,500241$1,500GlennWireless
Lake CountyDigital Path$123,00082$1,500LakeWireless
Mendocino CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500MendocinoWireless
Plumas LassenDigital Path$865,000577$1,499Plumas, LassenWireless
Sacramento CountyDigital Path$230,000154$1,494SacramentoWireless
Sierra CountyDigital Path$241,000161$1,497SierraWireless
Siskiyou CountyDigital Path$138,00092$1,500SiskiyouWireless
Sutter PlacerDigital Path$418,433277$1,511SutterWireless
Tehama CountyDigital Path$935,976624$1,500TehamaWireless
Central CoastEtheric$3,180,3301,976$1,609Monterey, San BenitoWireless
Crescent CityFrontier$1,586,885134$11,842Del NorteFTTP
CuyamaFrontier$12,462,755131$95,136Kern, Santa BarbaraFTTP
GarbervilleFrontier$3,776,254106$35,625HumboldtFTTP
HerlongFrontier$7,668,801273$28,091LassenFTTP
Knights LandingFrontier$4,590,845104$44,143Colusa, Sutter, YoloFTTP
Lake IsabellaFrontier$9,595,168405$23,692KernFTTP
Mad RiverFrontier$8,169,979203$40,246Humboldt, TrinityFTTP
Northeast Phase 2Frontier$10,358,969502$20,635Plumas, TehamaFTTP
PiercyFrontier$7,797,273805$9,686MendocinoFTTP
Smith RiverFrontier$1,428,47955$25,972Del NorteFTTP
Hoopa ValleyHunter$8,233,3401,198$6,873HumboldtFTTP, wireless
Mendocino CountyHunter$290,327,9405,870$49,460MendocinoFTTP, wireless
Long ValleyPlumas Sierra$4,118,25554$76,264PlumasFTTP
Mohawk ValleyPlumas Sierra$2,271,03954$42,056PlumasFTTP
PortolaPlumas Sierra$2,587,67785$30,443PlumasFTTP
Scott RoadPlumas Sierra$4,307,47588$48,949Lassen, SierraFTTP
Sierra ValleyPlumas Sierra$5,123,342283$18,104Plumas, SierraFTTP, wireless
Southern LassenPlumas Sierra$13,630,662868$15,704LassenFTTP
Gigafy ArbuckleRace$4,241,181480$8,836ColusaFTTP
Gigafy Backus 2Race$4,702,649266$17,679KernFTTP
Gigafy Nevada CityRace$6,154,776499$12,334NevadaFTTP
Gigafy WilliamsRace$6,758,805588$11,495ColusaFTTP
Sonoma/NapaWeb Perception$1,450,697504$2,878Napa. SonomaWireless
West Sonoma CountyWiConduit$81,886,0951,342$61,018SonomaFTTP
Total$528,136,25322,826$23,137

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) supported Charter’s San Benito County proposal and assisted Etheric Networks with its application. I assisted the CCBC and also kibitzed on other projects. I’m not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

Future proof broadband infrastructure for “all Californians” is goal of new senate bill

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Dig once conduit 1oct2019

With the aim of ensuring “all Californians will gain access to broadband that is ready for the 21st century”, a coalition of broadband advocacy groups and independent broadband companies are sponsoring a bill that would undo the self-serving damage that monopoly model telcos and cable companies, and their allies, did to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) in 2017.

Senate bill 1130 raises California’s minimum broadband standard from the pathetic 6 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload speeds that support incumbent business plans and little else, to modern, symmetrical 25 Mbps service, and sets a de facto goal of deploying future proof fiber infrastructure in any community, regardless of population density or household income levels.

Carried by senator Lena Gonzales (D – Los Angeles), SB 1130 landed at the state capitol last week. As currently written, it says…

  • California’s minimum broadband service standard is set at symmetrical, 25 Mbps download/25 Mbps upload speeds, with “a latency that is sufficiently low to allow real-time, interactive applications”. As a practical matter, that means service from fiber to the premise and upgraded cable modem infrastructure. Conventional telephone company copper systems (i.e. any flavor of DSL) or fixed wireless facilities can’t deliver 25/25 service on a wide scale, consumer-focused basis.
  • Subsidised projects have to be capable of delivering symmetrical 100 Mbps download/100 Mbps upload speeds, and must deploy low latency, “high-capacity, future-proof infrastructure”. That means fiber. No other technology can do that at scale.
  • Middle mile infrastructure must be open access, meaning anyone can buy capacity on it.
  • Last mile infrastructure might also have to be operated on an open access basis, to one extent or another, depending on circumstances.

There are other useful changes in the bill, including priority for “high poverty areas”, an end to the cable industry’s “line extension” money laundering scheme, and tightening the deadlines and financial responsibility for telcos and others that take advantage of right of first refusal privileges.

As with any legislation, the bill’s future is cloudy. The California legislature suspended committee hearings and floor sessions because of the covid–19 emergency. When legislative business resumes – it’ll have to, if only to meet the constitutional budget deadline – the to-do list could be very short. But that’s a problem for later. For now, SB 1130 is a welcome fix.