Fiber gems stand out on California's central coast

27 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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The industrial/commercial broadband Star Rating system developed by Tellus Venture Associates for the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast shows a wide variation in high grade broadband infrastructure across San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

In the BCPC region, most commercial and industrial census blocks rated 1 Star or less, however there were ample instances of 2 Star, 3 Star and even some 4 Star Ratings. The highest aggregate rating for a city was found in San Luis Obispo, which rated 2 Stars overall. Otherwise, aggregate ratings in incorporated cities in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties were at a half-Star or less. Ventura County cities rated higher, up to one and a half Stars.

On an aggregate basis, the City of San Luis Obispo’s 2 Star the result of averaging many 3 Star and No-Star areas. The 3 Star areas are served by a gigabit-class FTTP network operated by Digital West. We were able to include it in the assessment because the company provided a sufficiently detailed map of its system.

With two exceptions, aggregate ratings for communities in Santa Barbara County and the rest of SLO County were all No Stars. The Cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta earned Half Star ratings, and probably would have ranked higher if better fiber network map data was available. The information we had about long distance and metropolitan fiber routes in those two cities indicated that if better information about the availability of service on those networks is provided by the companies involved, particularly Crown Castle, then the ratings would go up.

The low average for the remainder of Santa Barbara County disguises several areas of excellence, including 3 Star locations in Carpenteria, Lompoc and Santa Maria, and a significant number of locations in Santa Maria that rated 1 Star or 2 Stars.

In Ventura County, aggregate ratings for cities ranged from No Stars in the City of Ventura to half Stars in Moorpark, Ojai and Simi Valley, to one Star in Oxnard and Port Hueneme, to one and a half Stars in Camarillo and Thousand Oaks. Higher aggregate ratings correlate to the widespread presence of Verizon’s FiOS fiber to the premise infrastructure. Areas served by AT&T did not tend to do as well.

There were several focused areas of excellence, including 3 Star and 4 Star locations in Camarillo, Moorpark, Oxnard, City of Ventura, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks. The unincorporated Casa Conejo community was rated 2 Star, in aggregate.

Some of the city and county-scale maps showing Star Ratings for the three counties are available in the report and subsequent update we produced for BCPC, and all of them can be downloaded via the links below. An interactive version is in the works, and I’ll have a post here about it as soon as it’s up.

Broadband Analysis and Planning, Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast, Final Report, 11 April 2016
Broadband Analysis and Planning Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast Update, 30 June 2016
Star Rating maps – San Luis Obispo County
Star Rating maps – Santa Barbara County
Star Rating maps – Ventura County