Free speech “hypocrisy” won’t end with a new FCC or new administration

30 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Open internet dont tread on me 2

It’s an odd twist of logic that says the Federal Communications Commission can’t regulate Internet service or facilities, but it can be the Internet content cop. But that’s the position that FCC chair Ajit Pai is taking in regards to what is known as Section 230 – a bit of federal communications law that shields Internet platforms, like Facebook, from liability for content posted by their customers. The urge that drives him is near universal among major party politicians in Washington, D.C.… More

CPUC (sorta) offers $73 million subsidy kicker to RDOF bidders

29 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Cpuc rdof kicker map 28oct2020

Internet service providers that win federal subsidies in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction for particular census block groups (CBGs) may be eligible for at least $73 million in supplemental subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund. And maybe twice that much.

Probably.

Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission defined – at least to a useful extent – how much money will be offered as an incentive for ISPs to bid aggressively for RDOF money in Californian CBGs where the digital divide is the widest.… More

With California’s supplemental subsidy proposed but not yet offered, ISPs must risk RDOF subsidy bets tomorrow

28 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Update 28 October 2020: The CPUC published a new list of targeted census block groups (CBGs), and clarified its proposed plan to offer additional subsidies to ISPs that successfully bid for RDOF subsidies in those CBGs. The list is here. The updated info about the money is here. The short version is that if the plan is approved by commissioners in December, then the CPUC will offer an amount equal to 10% of the ten year “reserve price” set by the FCC for each CBG – a total of $73 million from CASF – to ISPs that meet the CPUC’s Level 1 service requirements and other qualifications.… More

Broadband needs grow as California’s subsidy fund runs dry

27 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Salinas taco bell broadband

There’s about $194 million left for broadband infrastructure upgrades in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). That’s less than half of pending grant requests, even before possible “kickers” for Internet service providers bidding for federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) subsidies are factored in.

It might not be even that much. My estimate includes an optimistic allowance for the cost of running the program, which has increased over time and will likely continue to grow.… More

CPUC updates tentative RDOF incentive plan, as its broadband fund falls short by $77 million

26 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Sick piggy bank

The California Public Utilities Commission will put $150 million on the table for Internet service providers to add to their budgets as they bid in a reverse auction for federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) subsidies, if a plan proposed by staff is eventually approved by commissioners. Some of the details of that plan were released earlier this month, and a list of census block groups that will be eligible for “kickers” from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) was posted late on Friday.… More

Breaking: California’s RDOF incentive plan released, $150 million offered to bidders in targeted communities. Maybe

23 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Front line dispatch 625

A list of census block groups eligible for subsidies from both the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and, provisionally, the California Advanced Services Fund was posted on the California Public Utilities Commission’s website late today.

The plan is to make CASF money available to Internet service providers that want to compete for federal subsidies in the neediest Californian communities, in order to incentivise them to bid more aggressively in the RDOF reverse auction. As much as $150 million might be available.… More

Federal appeals court says no do over, FCC muni pole ownership preemption stands

23 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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If cities and counties want to continue fighting the Federal Communications Commission’s preemption of local ownership of street light poles and other municipal property planted in the public right of way, they will have to take their case to the federal supreme court. In a ruling issued yesterday, the San Francisco-based ninth circuit court of appeals denied a request for a rehearing of a ruling made earlier this year by a three-judge panel that largely upheld the FCC’s authority to dictate the rates and terms for attaching wireless equipment to city-owned poles.… More

AT&T kills wired broadband service for half a million Californians

22 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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AT&T’s decision to stop selling legacy DSL service – the sort that uses 1990s technology and rides on regulated phone lines – affects 547,000 Californians, 1.4% of the state’s population. 67,000 of them will completely lose the ability to buy residential wireline broadband service from a commercial provider. Rural counties will be hit hard, with Tuolumne County taking the stiffest punch: 3.4% of its population will no longer be able to get wireline broadband service at any speed.… More

CWA union says AT&T redlines poor communities. California’s stats confirm the pattern, if not the extent

21 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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The Communications Workers of America (CWA) – the primary telecoms union in the U.S. – claims that AT&T is doing fiber upgrades in high income communities and redlining low income ones. A white paper published by CWA and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance claims…

The analysis of AT&T’s network reveals that the company is prioritizing network upgrades to wealthier areas, and leaving lower income communities with outdated technologies. Across the country, the median income for households with fiber available is 34 percent higher than in areas with DSL only – $60,969 compared to $45,500.

More

Time running out for CPUC to maximise federal bang for California broadband bucks

20 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Zonk

So far, the California Public Utilities Commission isn’t budging on its nonsensical plan to decide after the upcoming federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund reverse auction whether it will offer cash incentives to Internet service providers that might be bidding for broadband service and infrastructure subsidies for Californian communities.

Instead, it’s taking comments on a plan drafted by staff. Not comments from the general public though. Only those who file the necessary paperwork to become a “party” to the “proceeding” have a say.… More