FTTH project pitched for CASF subsidy in south Santa Clara County

28 December 2015 by Steve Blum
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When you travel south of the Silicon Valley, Internet access begins to degrade. The southern stretch of Santa Clara County – the Coyote Valley – relies on a uneven mix of service from Verizon (soon to be Frontier), AT&T and Charter Communications, plus a handful of independents. LCB Communications and co-owned South Valley Internet, a wireless ISP and DSL reseller in the area, want to get into the fiber to the home business, and is asking the California Public Utilities Commission for a $2.8 million subsidy from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

The proposed project – dubbed Light Saber – is mostly near San Martin, an unincorporated town between Morgan Hill and Gilroy that serves as a semi-rural bedroom community for Silicon Valley. The publicly distributed project summary outlines the demographics

The median household income was approximately $92,575.00 and the median age was 44.8 years old. Residents of San Martin are educated with 79% having a high school diploma and 24% having a bachelors or higher. San Martin seems to have the extremes of wealth and poverty…Many of the residents of Light Saber Project area or the Proposed Fiber Service Area (PFSA) commute to Silicon Valley and work for a variety of hi-tech companies. The number of technology focused individuals, the age and the income demographics, combine to create an environment with a much higher demand for high speed broadband services and the ability to pay for it.

There’s also a little area west of Morgan Hill that’s included in the project. According to the summary, the project area – which is only a portion of the San Martin community – is nearly all underserved, which means that there is some broadband service but nothing that hits the CASF minimum standard of 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload speeds. The CPUC’s broadband availability map generally backs up that claim.