CPUC says yes to Petrolia and queues up Backus

Click to get the big picture for Backus Road.

Frontier Communications will get $203,000 from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to build a microwave middle mile connection to the Humboldt County town of Petrolia and upgrade DSL service to 25 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up. The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to award the grant. Petrolia was initially identified as a candidate for a CASF subsidy by the Redwood Coast Broadband Consortium and is the first on a long list of high priority communities – as determined by the CPUC – to get actual project approval.

Next up for consideration is a fiber-to-the-home build for the Backus Road neighborhood on the outskirts of the town of Mojave in Kern County. The draft resolution that’s on the table now would allocate $2.2 million for the project, with $353,000 earmarked to offset state and local income taxes that the applicant – Race Telecommunications – might or might not have to pay. The balance of $1.9 million would cover 70% of the cost of building out FTTH facilities to 253 homes, for a total cost to CASF of about $9,000 per home, if the full tax contingency fund is used.

The system would be attached to Race’s existing fiber system at the Mojave Airport – also a CASF-subsidised project – and offer several different tiers of service, ranging from 25 Mbps down and up for $25 a month to a full gig down and up for $100 per month. The CPUC is scheduled to vote on the draft resolution at its 13 August 2015 meeting.