The California assembly will vote on funding broadband infrastructure

30 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Legislative leadership lines up behind broadband.

Californian broadband subsidies are back on track and heading, it seems to a vote by the full assembly. Big thanks to Elizabeth Munguia in senator Alex Padilla’s office for the news that the assembly leadership released senate bill 740 from the appropriations committee’s suspense file, which puts it in play for the final, hectic two weeks of the legislature’s current session.

SB 740 would add $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and make it possible – although maybe not practical – for independent Internet service providers and cities to apply for grants and loans to build out broadband infrastructure.… More

Assembly committee puts California broadband subsidy bill on hold

22 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Don’t keep us in suspense.

The fate of California broadband infrastructure subsidies will come down to a mass legislative horse trading session next week. Senate bill 740, which would add $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and allow independent ISPs and cities to apply for broadband construction money under limited circumstances, was shuffled to the assembly appropriations committee’s suspense file yesterday. The move was expected.

It’s a procedural limbo that was originally created to allow lawmakers to delay significant spending or tax bills until after the state budget is approved.… More

Admin costs take a bigger bite out of California broadband subsidy fund

20 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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I thought there was more in there.

The amount of money available to the current round of California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) infrastructure grant applicants is probably something like $135 million, considerably less than the $148 million I’ve been estimating. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has published the proposed budget for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) for next fiscal year, which runs from July 2014 to June 2015. It shows a sharp increase in overhead costs for running the program, including an extra $1.5 million for the state’s broadband mapping project.… More

California broadband subsidy debate moves behind closed doors

14 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Waiting for the word.

Two bills that, together, will make significant changes to the way the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) operates face an uncertain future in the California legislature. Both are alive following Monday’s vote by the assembly utilities and commerce committee, but now need the blessing of key legislators to keep moving toward final approval.

Senate bill 740 adds $90 million to CASF and allows independent ISPs and cities to apply for broadband infrastructure subsidies.… More

Monday is make or break day for California broadband subsidies

11 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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How many seats will be empty?

Eight members of the assembly utilities and commerce committee have to vote aye three times to resurrect a bill to top up and extend the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). A special committee meeting is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Monday, and senate bill 740, the CASF extension, is the only item on the agenda.

The first, and most important, choice committee members will make is to vote with their feet.… More

Latest proposed changes to California broadband subsidies a net gain, but not as much as hoped

Take the money and run.

There’s good news, good news and bad news in the latest version of senate bill 740, which renews and rewrites the rules for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Under a deal cut yesterday, Comcast and a lobbying organisation for the cable industry in California said they would drop their opposition to the bill in exchange for tougher restrictions on how broadband subsidy funds can be spent.

It’s good news that an extra $90 million is going into CASF.… More

Trading broadband subsidies for access to California public housing residents

17 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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A couple of apartments are enough to make cable companies lose their taste for monopoly.

Public housing agencies stand between residents and cable television companies. Like any other landlord in California, a public housing agency has considerable (but not total) control over who can install wiring in a building or complex, and consequently who can sell television, telephone and Internet service to residents.

That control is about to be trimmed back a notch.

Assembly bill 1299 proposes to use $20 million from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to improve broadband infrastructure in public housing, plus another $5 million to encourage residents to buy service, assuming lawmakers also add more money to the account.… More

Landlords face down Google: who benefits from broadband?

16 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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Complex issue for Kansas City complexes.

Google Fiber’s offer in Kansas City of at least 5 Mbps Internet service for at least seven years for a one-time $300 installation fee is a rocking good deal if you own a house, or even if you’re a renter who expects to be around for a couple of years. But the economics are different for apartment buildings, where landlords have to pay the fee and tenants get the free service.… More

Broadband infrastructure and public housing now a common cause

10 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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Doesn’t matter how many buckets you have if the well runs dry.

The officially amended version of a bill aimed at improving Internet access and increasing its use in public housing projects has been released, and its good news for broadband infrastructure in California.

Assembly bill 1299 would set aside $25 million from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to wire public housing units and pay for marketing programs to encourage residents to sign up for service.… More

Effort builds to revive California broadband subsidy legislation

3 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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I’m not dead yet. I’m getting better.

A proposal to extend funding and eligibility for broadband infrastructure subsidies might get a second chance in the California assembly. Senate bill 740 failed to get enough “yes” votes in the assembly utilities and commerce committee on Monday. Contrary to what was thought at time, there is enough slack in the legislative schedule to take another try at getting the committee’s approval.

The actual deadline for the utilities and commerce committee to send SB 740 on its way to be considered by the full assembly is 16 August 2013.… More