FCC allows big ISPs to add performance enhancing juice to speed tests, WSJ says

19 December 2019 by Steve Blum
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The fast, reliable broadband service claims endorsed by the Federal Communications Commission are based on test data that’s been doctored by California’s monopoly model Internet service providers, according to a Wall Street Journal article Shalini Ramachandran, Lillian Rizzo and Drew FitzGerald (h/t to Jim Warner for sending me the link).

Annual speed measurements taken to evaluate U.S. broadband service are “juiced” by AT&T, Comcast, Charter Communications and others, who know ahead of time where the tests are run and afterwards lobby the FCC to suppress bad results and hype good ones, the story says…

[AT&T] pushed the Federal Communications Commission to omit unflattering data on its DSL internet service…

In the end, the DSL data was left out of the report released late last year, to the chagrin of some agency officials.


Santa Cruz gets more fiber, more gigabit service

19 May 2018 by Steve Blum
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AT&T’s recent fiber to the home (FTTH) upgrades in Santa Cruz mean that Cruzio isn’t the only Internet service provider bringing gigabit class infrastructure into town (unless you have a sneaking suspicion that it’s a competitive response – in that case you can thank Cruzio for it too). U.C. Santa Cruz’s Jim Warner tracked it down…

AT&T has been working on an FTTH deployment in parts of west Santa Cruz. The work has progressed to the point where some addresses are showing availability of gigabit service in AT&T’s on-line service availability tool.


CPUC tells FCC not to confuse copper networks with telecoms service

25 June 2017 by Steve Blum
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Don’t confuse copper wireline infrastructure with the services it supports. That’s the message from the California Public Utilities Commission to the Federal Communications Commission. In comments regarding possible changes to federal wireless and wireline telecoms regulations, the CPUC said that the "FCC’s assumption that copper has outlived its usefulness is overstated"…

Copper technology is not inherently obsolete. Copper was originally used for telecommunications because it could serve as the backbone of a universal voice network: it was cheap to install, easy to use, and readily available.


Monterey Bay broadband expert group offers conduit design advice

8 March 2017 by Steve Blum
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It’s one thing to say that empty telecoms conduit – shadow conduit – should be installed anytime a street is repaved or a utility trench is dug, but that begs a question: what kind of conduit, and how should it be designed?

To answer that question, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and the Central Coast Broadband Consortium convened a technical expert group that included senior public works engineers, Internet service providers, underground construction contractors and manufacturers.… More

Mobile broadband gets faster in California, but maybe not fast enough

26 October 2014 by Steve Blum
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Click for a bigger version.

Mobile broadband is better in California, and improvements have been made quickly. That was one of the takeaways from a meeting of Central Coast Internet service providers and California Public Utilities Commission staff in Seaside last week. Jim Warner, a network engineer at U.C. Santa Cruz and chair of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium’s technical expert group, discussed his analysis of results from the latest round of the CPUC’s mobile broadband field testing.… More

If you're wondering how much it costs to use existing poles and conduit, it's public information

20 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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The most difficult and costly part of any wireline broadband infrastructure project is getting cable from point A to point B. There are two primary ways of doing it: stringing it on poles or running through buried conduit. Since the chances of getting permission to build a new pole route in California is only slightly better than the odds of getting approval to drill for oil in San Francisco Bay, your only independent alternative is to start digging, at the rate of $30 to $60 a foot or more.… More

FCC's E-rate program trading up to WiFi and a gig

7 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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By Jim Warner
Network engineer, U.C. Santa Cruz
Chair, Central Coast Broadband Consortium technical expert group

This is arguably a badly timed note about an FCC proposal due for decision on Friday, July 11. Any opportunity to comment – and have your comments count – ended months ago.

A year ago the commission put out a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that reviewed this history of changes to the E-rate program that provides about $2.3B/yr subsidies to educational uses of telecommunications services:

Click here for the NPRM

The big headline – when the rules come out – is that the FCC will be shifting the E-rate program to make Wi-Fi service ubiquitous in the nation’s schools.… More

CPUC needs a smart and aggressive cat

Telling it like it is.

Mark Ferron, a commissioner on the California Public Utilities Commission, recently – and abruptly – announced he was resigning. What had been a very private battle with prostate cancer took a turn for the worse, and he stepped down in order to focus his energy on his health and family. His resignation message is worth reading for his insight on prostate cancer alone. But Ferron also leaves his fellow commissioners with some pointed advice on winning the – also heretofore private – struggle he sees to maintain relevance.… More

Comprehensive study shows wireless radiation does not affect people

It’s safe to take off the hat now.

There is no scientifically valid evidence that radio waves produced by WiFi or mobile telecoms equipment harm people or make them sick. That’s the conclusion of a systematic review of 29 scientific studies that looked for connections between electromagnetic fields (EMF) and illnesses that people claim are caused by them…

Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) is a controversial illness in which people report symptoms that they believe are triggered by exposure to EMF.


Broadband 101 workshop in Santa Cruz looks at projects, policy

Zach and friends.

“Economic development is not just building a Costco or a car dealership”, said Santa Cruz County supervisor Zach Friend, closing out a three hour workshop on the basics of broadband development. “What we’re doing now is laying down a backbone for future economic development.”

About forty people attended event last week at CruzioWorks, including supervisors, Santa Cruz mayor Hilary Bryant and local public works and IT staff from around the county. Cruzio CEO Peggy Dolgenos was the host and emcee.… More