Frontier gets California subsidy to upgrade Shasta County service

1 October 2016 by Steve Blum
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A thousand homes in the rural Shasta County community of Shingletown will be getting faster DSL service from Frontier Communications, as a result of a $546,000 subsidy from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) that was okayed by the California Public Utilities Commission at its meeting last week. According to the resolution approving the grant

Frontier submitted an application for CASF funding to build 64,950 feet of fiber cable from the Shingletown, California central office to six digital loop carrier sites…The sites under this grant are currently served by broadband over copper facilities to DSLAM’s served from the Shingletown central office in Shasta County. The existing bandwidth is not capable of providing more than 3 Mbps download speeds and 768 Kbps upload speeds, and must be upgraded to a new technology (ADSL2+ with bonding) to meet the grant speeds. To upgrade to this using this combination of technology, the existing DSLAMs must be Ethernet-capable and the central office must have sufficient bandwidth coming into it…Customers within 7,200 feet of the DSLAM will be capable of receiving speeds of 25 Mbps download and up to 2 Mbps upload and those within 10,000 feet will be capable of receiving 10 Mbps download and up to 1.5 Mbps upload speeds.

When this project was first proposed for a CASF subsidy, I described it as middle mile infrastructure, and as such said it should be subject to the same kind of open access requirements the CPUC has imposed on independent projects it’s funded. Frontier objected to that characterisation, saying it was for upgrades to its last mile distribution network. After looking at it more closely, I agree – it’s a last mile build. The new fiber will all be downstream of the central office, and the average run will be about two miles. Fair enough.