January funding for California regional broadband consortia

23 November 2011 by Steve Blum
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California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff are working through the first batch of regional broadband consortia grant applications. Those seven consortia are on track to be approved at the 1 December 2011 commission meeting and to receive start-up checks in January.
The 20-day public comment window has closed, and so far there’s no indication of any determined opposition. CPUC hasn’t release all of the filed comments, but the ones that are available generally support either the proposed resolution or the alternate version that provides increased funding to Los Angeles County.
CPUC’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) opposes the extra money for LA and wants to delay the entire program while the resolution’s language is cleaned up. The DRA is either the CPUC’s institutional conscience or in-house gadfly, depending on your point of view. Their objections are weak, by their standards. An optimist might even call it an endorsement of sorts.
Some of the consortia grant applicants have weighed in, supporting the extra funding for LA and asking that all fourteen of the pending applications be funded immediately.
A total of fifteen applications were filed. One was rejected and CPUC staff broke the remainder into two groups. The resolution funds the first seven consortia, with some conditions. The second group of seven are endorsed by the resolution but not yet approved. The commission would presumably consider those applications in January or February, after some revisions are made, with March funding likely.