Nearly all broadband subsidy proposals could survive California’s chopping block. Nearly

24 June 2020 by Steve Blum
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CASF funding status Part 3:

There won’t be enough money in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to pay for all the broadband projects proposed for subsidies last month. Grant requests total $533 million, but there’s only $145 million in tax revenue projected to be available for CASF infrastructure projects, as the program is designed and run now.

Something has to give. But not everything. One potential remedy is to top up project budgets with federal money.… More

California broadband subsidy fund dwindles to less than a third needed for pending projects

23 June 2020 by Steve Blum
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Sick piggy bank

CASF funding status Part 2:

With only $145 million in collectable tax revenue left to spend on broadband infrastructure subsidies, the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) will run dry this year. Last month, 54 broadband projects totalling $533 million in grant requests were proposed for CASF funding. Many, if not all, will be trimmed and some will almost certainly be rejected completely.

My blog post yesterday details the $130 million shortfall in tax revenue collected for CASF – actual and projected – over the final five years of the program, assuming that the legislature doesn’t extend it or the California Public Utilities Commission can’t raise the tax rate applied to in-state phone bills that funds it.… More

California’s broadband upgrade fund could lose $120 million, after senate committee caps subsidy bill

22 June 2020 by Steve Blum
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Los alamos verizon plant 29oct2015 625

CASF funding status Part 1:

The California senate’s appropriations committee slammed a hard limit on the amount of money the California Public Utilities Commission can collect from taxpayers to fund broadband infrastructure subsidies. If the cap becomes law, it will lead to a cut of about $120 million from money previously approved for expanding and upgrading broadband service in California, primarily in rural communities.

The amendments to senate bill 1130 – approved behind closed doors on Thursday – would remove the CPUC’s authority to increase the tax on telephone bills that’s collected for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).… More

14 ISPs try to block competitors’ broadband upgrades in rural California

9 June 2020 by Steve Blum
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Road closed 625

Update, 12 June 2020: I found another challenge that I missed the first time around. Valley Internet filed against Web Perception’s Sonoma/Napa project. Comcast also challenged it, so the count is still 34 projects out of 54 facing challenges, with a new total of 17 ISPs filing. I updated the list below, but the live list for CASF project tracking is here.

Update, 10 June 2020: A late notice, from Succeed, brings the total number of projects challenged to 34 out of 54, and the number of ISPs filing challenges to 16.More

California broadband subsidy bill slows down to 25 Mbps copper speeds, with “a goal” of fiber for all

4 June 2020 by Steve Blum
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San benito pole route 13apr2019

Broadband projects subsidised by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) wouldn’t have to be all fiber, according to the latest changes to senate bill 1130. The amendments, published late Tuesday night, lower the minimum broadband service speeds supported by new, subsidised infrastructure from 100 Mbps download/100 Mbps upload, which only full fiber to the premise facilities can deliver on a mass market basis, to 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload, which is within the range of middling copper-based DSL systems.… More

Fiber for all broadband subsidy bill approved by California senate committee

27 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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Fiber patch panel sab photo 625

Future proof, fiber-based broadband infrastructure got a big boost yesterday as the California senate’s energy, utilities and communications committee voted to approve senate bill 1130. The bill would raise California’s minimum broadband standard to symmetrical 25 Mbps download and upload speeds, and require projects subsidised with money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to be capable of delivering symmetrical 100 Mbps down/100 Mbps up speeds.

As is common, changes were made on the fly and the exact language is still to be determined.… More

Modern, future proof broadband gets a hearing in the California senate today, with public call in comments allowed

26 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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A faster and modern broadband speed standard for California is scheduled for its first hearing at the state capitol this afternoon. Senate bill 1130 by Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles) is set for a vote by the California senate’s energy, utilities and communications committee.

The hearing will be conducted partly in person, in the cavernous senate chamber, and partly online. One beneficial side effect of the covid–19 emergency is that Californians can participate in the legislative process and make their views known remotely, without having to trek to Sacramento and fight their way through the squads of hired guns and corporate lobbyists that usually occupy the halls and hearing rooms of the capitol.… More

California broadband infrastructure grant requests total $533 million as challenge period opens

21 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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Two more broadband project proposals surfaced as the California Public Utilities Commission posted the official list of applications for grants from the California Advanced Services Fund. One is for what appears to be a neighborhood fiber to the premise (FTTP) system in Nevada County, the other is an FTTP project that covers the same Placer County area that Charter Communications proposed for a hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) build.

The total now stands at 54 projects asking for a total of $533 million, about twice what’s available in the CASF kitty now.… More

Newsom’s budget revision hints at broadband policy change, adds money for mapping

18 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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Although governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget proposal has gloomy news for many publicly funded services and agencies in California, there’s a bright spot of sorts for broadband development. Newsom wants to spend an extra $2.8 million on broadband speed testing and mapping, via the California Public Utilities Commission’s CalSpeed program…

To identify which areas of the state lack sufficient access to broadband, the May Revision includes $2.8 million and 3 positions in additional resources…for the Commission to enhance its broadband mapping activities.


Wide swing on costs for California broadband subsidy proposals, for fiber and copper

12 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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Swing dance

Of the 52 applications for broadband infrastructure grants from the California Advanced Services Fund, 23 are for fiber to the premise (FTTP) builds of one kind or another, 16 are hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) projects, all submitted by Charter Communications, and 13 would be for fixed wireless facilities.

The least expensive proposals are, naturally enough, fixed wireless projects, most of which are in the $1,500 per home range. It’s probably no coincidence that the California Public Utility Commission’s benchmark price for wireless subsidies is also $1,500 per home.… More