Setting broadband development priorities for California's central coast

18 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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Central coast roadmaps for broadband development.

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) took the first steps yesterday towards identifying priority areas for broadband infrastructure development. At its annual meeting, held at the Monterey airport, representatives from local Internet service providers, agencies and businesses looked over plans for a three month process that’ll lead to a list of communities that are eligible for broadband construction subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and have both a high degree of need and resources sufficient to ensure successful projects.

I presented the preliminary framework for determining those priority areas, which will evolve as we move forward. In order to be eligible for CASF funding, an area has to lack broadband access at the California Public Utilities Commission’s minimum speed of 6 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up. And a qualified company or, in some cases, local agency has to be willing to submit an application.

Other factors that are on the table are the number of people, businesses, schools and government facilities in the area and the density of the population – a key cost consideration. Average income also comes into play, but it’s a double edged statistic: the lower the income, the greater the impact of a broadband upgrade project, but the higher the income, the greater potential for attracting credible service providers.

Moving forward, we’ll analyse the available data, using resources already developed by the CCBC, make it available to interested service providers and start a public discussion using the Civinomics online public policy workshop platform. The central coast’s priority list will be presented to the CPUC early next year.