CPUC gets enthusiastic support for Salinas Valley broadband project

Once upon a time, Silicon Valley looked pretty much the same.

Community leaders from California’s central coast have weighed in on a grant application in front of the California Public Utilities Commission that would pay for a large portion of a 91-mile fiber optic backbone for the region. The project, submitted by Sunesys, LLC would provide disadvantaged communities in the Salinas Valley with the kind of broadband infrastructure Silicon Valley takes for granted. Not surprisingly, there is tremendous local support for CPUC president Michael Peevey’s proposal to raise the allowable percentage of the construction costs that can be subsidised by the California Advanced Services Fund.

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium formally submitted comments on the proposal this afternoon, and included more than twenty letters of support from government and business leaders in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties…

Monterey County Supervisor Simon Salinas – who represents the large, broadband-deprived communities in the southern Salinas Valley that are at the top of the CCBC priority list – has worked with the Sunesys team to help create a proposal that addresses this unfair and unsustainable digital divide. Supervisor Louis Calcagno, who represents the priority communities to the north, has likewise endorsed the project, as have leaders from the incorporated cities of Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King, and the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments. These community leaders and organisations are on the front line of the battle to create jobs and improve health and public safety for all residents within the project area, a battle that modern broadband infrastructure can help win.

The commission is scheduled to vote on funding the project on 27 March 2014.

Tellus Venture Associates assisted with several CASF proposals in the current round, including the Sunesys project, so I’m not a disinterested commentator. I also wrote the CCBC’s comments. Take it for what it’s worth.