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So far, only one Internet service provider has exercised its right of first refusal to upgrade substandard service areas on its own and thereby prevent competing projects from getting subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund for up to a year. Frontier Communications submitted a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission on Friday making a plausible pledge to improve service in 7 rural Californian communities to at least minimum levels…
The project upgrades are in northeast California in the area of Alturas, Chester, Lake Almanor, Janesville, Shingletown, in the central California area of Tuolumne and along the California and Nevada border adjacent to Topaz Lake, NV on the California side. These projects are also supported by Connect America Fund Phase 1 Round 2 funding.
This upgrade will be performed by May 1, 2015.
Frontier says it will provide test data that shows subscribers in those communities are able to receive service that meets or beats the commission’s 6 Mbps down/1.5 Mbps up speed standard. As required, Frontier is committing to getting it done within 6 months, but the commission allows an extra 6 months if weather, permits from local government, federal funding or similar factors slow the work down. That potential extension out to a year was added earlier this year at the request of Frontier and other rural telcos.
The nominal deadline for exercising CASF rights of first refusal was Saturday, but since today is the next business day after that, ISPs could file by 5 p.m. and likely claim that’s good enough under CPUC rules.