Major Kern County broadband project prepped for CPUC vote

13 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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The Tehachapi Pass of the future will have broadband too. And probably a lot sooner.

Race Telecommunications proposed building a fiber-to-the-home system near the Tehachapi Pass in an application for a California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant earlier this year. Now, it’s been vetted by California Public Utilities Commission staff, and it’s heading for a vote by commissioners at their 17 October 2013 meeting.

A draft resolution released yesterday explained why the Kern County High Desert project, intended for the communities of Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs and Golden Hills, got the green light for 12.6 million from CASF…

Staff recommends this project for funding, because it has an above average overall score relative to the other projects. It scored high in the areas of funds requested per customer, total number of households in the proposed area and speeds offered. This project requested $2,879 per potential customer household with a total of 4,371 potential customer households in its project area. Additionally, it is offering maximum advertised speeds of 1 Gigabits per second (Gbps) download and 100 mbps upload. The project also encompasses over twenty anchor institutions which may benefit from this project. The fiber network will pass all the anchor institutions in the project area and will give them access to broadband services.

Race originally requested $13.2 million, but CPUC staff trimmed it back a bit after reviewing existing broadband availability in the proposed project area – a few, relatively small areas were deemed to have service speeds available of at least 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload.

Of the five projects proposed by Race, two – Mojave and California City, also in Kern County – were rejected early on because existing service met the minimum spec. Two others – Boron and four communities in Mono County – are still pending.