Heat maps point the way to California broadband gold

13 November 2014 by Steve Blum
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Maps and raw data showing broadband availability correlated to demographic and economic statistics are now available for 36 northern California counties, thanks to the California Emerging Technology Fund. It was developed for CETF by the City of Watsonville and Tellus Venture Associates, for a two day meeting in Redding that’s aimed at identifying a short list of feasible broadband infrastructure projects that can be paid for, in part, by the California Advanced Services Fund.

The center piece of the analysis is a heat map that shows areas that are eligible for CASF subsidies, color coded by housing density. It’s a money map: the hot zones are where grants paying for 60% to 70% of construction costs are available and there are enough customers in a small enough area to make the ongoing business case possible. (Click here for the 12 MB version of the map).

Along with the maps – which are available for each county – is spreadsheet data for each census block and every primary wireline service provider, tied to population, housing, household income and other key business data. The GIS source files were posted as well.

We went over the information yesterday – I gave a presentation that stepped through the analytical process – and used it to develop rough-cut ranking lists, that scored infrastructure project areas by both the potential social impact and business feasibility.

The conference is continuing today. We heard from state and federal agency representatives yesterday, including overviews of the CASF application and evaluation process from California Public Utilities Commission staff. Today the talk is about broadband projects.

Click to browse and download the CETF broadband opportunity maps and data (FTP site).