CASF application requirements amended, first deadline approaching

This morning the California Public Utilities Commission released a new version of its CASF Application Checklist, cleaning up some discrepancies between it and the full text of the decision that made significant revisions to the program last month.

You can download a summary of the current CASF grant program requirements here, and more information, including the CPUC’s latest map of under and unserved areas, is here.

If you want to see exactly what changes were made, the correction order and a redlined version of the corrected section is here. The corrections add details to the application requirements, for example specifying that up and download speeds for a proposed project be broken out by census block group and zip, and adding detail about business plan and demographic information requirements.
The program has two windows of opportunity scheduled in 2012 to submit proposals for broadband project funding. The first window is for projects that include only areas that the CPUC defines as “unserved”. That means that Internet service is either completely unavailable or it’s no better than dial-up service. The deadline for submitting applications for unserved areas is 15 May 2012.

The second window closes on 11 September 2012 and is for areas that the CPUC considers “underserved”, and for applications that include both under and unserved territory. An area is considered underserved if Internet service is available, but no wireline or wireless provider offers service “at advertised speeds of at least 6 mbps download and 1.5 mbps upload”.

If CASF funded a previous project in an area that is still underserved, it’s not eligible for funding during the second window, but a third window expected later in the year will allow it under certain circumstances.

CASF will provide grants of up to 60% of the cost of a broadband project in an underserved area and 70% in an unserved area. Loans are also available which could add another 20% to the kitty. Only telephone corporations, as defined by the CPUC, that hold a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or the wireless equivalent are eligble to receive funding. Other companies and organizations can participate in the project, but the lead, financial agent has to have a CPCN.