Priority for new funding for California broadband consortia goes to counties without one

26 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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CPUC wants to fill in the blanks.

A new round of grant applications is under way for regional broadband consortia in California. First priority will go to proposals for the nine counties that are not currently covered by a consortium. Existing consortia, which cover the other forty-nine counties in California, can also apply for additional money, although they’ll be second in line.

The California Public Utilities Commission gave notice this afternoon that it’ll be accepting proposals to spend the remaining $950,000 in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) that’s been earmarked for consortia. Deadline for applications is 17 January 2014.

The nine uncovered counties include five in the Bay Area (Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara), three on the central coast (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura) and Orange County in the south. There has already been interest in forming a consortia expressed by groups in some of those counties.

The maximum award to a new regional broadband consortium is $150,000 per year for three years, plus up to $10,000 per year for consortia members to attend an annual meeting organised by the CPUC. Which means there’s enough in the kitty to fund two new consortia for the full amount, or more if CPUC decides to spread the money more thinly. It also means that there’s not likely to be much, if anything, left over to give to existing consortia.

Today’s notice doesn’t go into much detail. Instead, it references the documents from the first round of consortia grants in 2011, which can be downloaded from my consortia planning page, or from the CPUC’s website.

In the spirit of shameless self-promotion full disclosure, I’ll just point out that Tellus Venture Associates has a successful track record with consortia grant work.