Serving urban homes means adapting CASF to urban broadband business models

11 April 2013 by Steve Blum
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Sometimes the last mile is a matter of feet.

Urban areas haven’t benefited from California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) infrastructure subsidies. All of the 34 broadband projects approved in past years and the 29 currently under review are in rural areas of the state. Two reasons account for it, one conceptual and other structural.

To be eligible for CASF infrastructure subsidies, an area has to at least qualify as underserved, which means there’s no broadband service available that delivers at least 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload speeds.… More

Who gets CASF money is first decision on California legislative agenda, how much comes later

4 April 2013 by Steve Blum
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Structurally sound or not, the cake gets cut.

The debate over whether to give priority to public housing programs when California broadband initiatives are funded continues on 15 April 2013, when the Assembly utilities and commerce committee is scheduled to formally consider assembly bill 1299.

It would require the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to give particular consideration to urban public housing projects for California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grants. It would also allow money previously set aside to build broadband infrastructure to also be spent on broadband adoption programs.… More

Party power (or lack thereof) shapes California broadband spending plans

19 March 2013 by Steve Blum
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The practical side of political alignment.

More than two-thirds of the seats in both the California Assembly and Senate are held by Democrats. That means it’s possible to add money to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and change its direction with no support at all from Republicans and no fear of losing the political cover a supermajority vote provides.
During hearings and meetings in Sacramento last week, Democrats focused almost exclusively on using CASF to increase the number of Californians who use the Internet.… More

Urban issues take the lead at Sacramento broadband meetings

15 March 2013 by Steve Blum
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Not this meeting. Ours took longer and no decision was made. But at least we were co-ed.

Digital literacy and broadband adoption – the wired kind anyway – were high on most priority lists in Sacramento this week. Broadband infrastructure, well, not so much. For four days, various (directly and indirectly) state-funded broadband groups met with agency and legislative staff, policy makers and telecoms companies. Much of the talk was about social service and educational programs, and how to fund them.… More

Mobile carriers not convincing key California assemblyman

13 March 2013 by Steve Blum
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Present company not included.

“I know a whole lotta dumb people with smart devices,” said Steven Bradford, a Los Angeles assemblyman and chair of the California assembly’s utilities and commerce committee. He’s a member of the California Broadband Council, which met today in Sacramento. The reason people have $500 smart phones, he said, is because telephone companies “practically give them away and lock them into a long term contract.”

Bradford takes issue with the way telephone companies are enthusiastically – and expensively – building out mobile networks in California and signing up customers, while at the same time letting wired service languish.… More

Bills to extend CASF introduced in California legislature

24 February 2013 by Steve Blum
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Pork is in the eye of the beholder.

Two bills proposing three changes to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) made it into the legislative sausage grinder by Friday’s deadline. The changes could be good or bad, depending on your point of view.

Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat representing the San Fernando Valley, introduced SB740, which would 1. add $100 million to the fund and allow five more years to collect it, and 2.… More