Gonzales requests quotes for universal broadband service

Bringing broadband service into every home has long been a goal of the City of Gonzales, a town of 8,500 residents located in California’s Salinas Valley. Yesterday, the City took a big step in that direction by releasing a Request for Quotes that asks broadband providers to put an offer on the table…

The City wishes to enter into an extended term contract with one Respondent to provide consistent, reliable access to basic internet service to each housing unit and household (collectively, “Residence”) at a fixed monthly cost to the City. In addition to providing internet service, the selected Respondent must provide continuous bilingual support for the residents, including an informational program to help residents adopt the provided internet service. Acceptance of the internet service will not be mandatory for any resident, but the City expects the selected Respondent to facilitate the acceptance of service by City’s residents. The price to be paid for the internet service is also a key factor for the City.

The concept is analogous to the bulk service deals that private communities often make, except in this case it’s a local government and not a homeowners association that’ll be writing the check every month. The project would be similar in scope to a mid-sized private community – the City of Gonzales has about 1,900 households packed into two square miles.

There is one wireline Internet service provider – AT&T – that serves residents, albeit at speeds that sometimes fall below California’s minimum standard. Even the dumbed down minimum standard adopted by the California legislature earlier this year. Charter Communications is expected to begin offering service at higher levels in the next few months. An open access middle mile fiber line, owned by Crown Castle via its acquisition of Sunesys LLC and largely paid for by the California Advanced Services Fund, runs through Gonzales, connecting to Soledad in the south, and Salinas, Watsonville and Santa Cruz to the north.

Incumbents are welcome to provide quotes, as are competitive Internet service providers.

I won’t try to summarise the RFQ. The meat of it runs about four pages and a lot of work, my own included, went into getting the language just right. Written questions regarding the RFQ can be submitted until 16 November 2017. Responses are due on Cyber Monday, 27 November 2017.


Request for Quotes for Bulk Residential Broadband Internet Access Services In the City of Gonzales, California, 7 November 2017 (Word version)
Request for Quotes for Bulk Residential Broadband Internet Access Services In the City of Gonzales, California, 7 November 2017 (PDF version)

I’m assisting the City of Gonzales with its broadband initiative. I am not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.