CPUC votes today on what should be its open access middle mile fiber policy

7 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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Krrbi update 3may2019

The last remaining broadband infrastructure subsidy proposal from 2019 is scheduled to be decided this morning by the California Public Utilities Commission. The resolution that’s on today’s CPUC consent agenda reaffirms one important precedent regarding subsidised middle mile fiber projects, and establishes another.

The plan is to add $11 million from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to the $6.6 million approved in 2013 for the Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative’s (KRRBI) hybrid fiber middle mile/wireless last mile broadband system that’ll serve Karuk and Yurok tribal lands in Humboldt County.… More

Total California broadband grant ask grows to $528 million, twice what’s available

6 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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Sick piggy bank

The number of broadband infrastructure projects proposed for California Advanced Services Fund subsidies more than doubled on Tuesday, as two Internet service providers – Charter Communications and Digital Path – distributed summaries of the grant applications they submitted on Monday. The total, though, didn’t increase nearly as dramatically.

The count now stands at 52 project proposals totalling $528 million, up from 25 projects at $506 million. That’s against something like $300 million or less in the CASF broadband infrastructure account.… More

California broadband subsidy requests break the bank at more than half a gigabuck

5 May 2020 by Steve Blum
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Butch cassidy explosion

Update, 5 May 2020 08:43: Charter Communications dropped 16 grant applications totalling $17 million in the wee hours of the morning. I’ve updated the table, links and totals below accordingly. Stand by, there might be more to come.

At least 41 broadband infrastructure grant proposals totalling more than half a billion dollars landed at the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday. I say at least because public notifications don’t always get out immediately. There might be more once the dust settles.… More

Future proof broadband infrastructure for “all Californians” is goal of new senate bill

6 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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Dig once conduit 1oct2019

With the aim of ensuring “all Californians will gain access to broadband that is ready for the 21st century”, a coalition of broadband advocacy groups and independent broadband companies are sponsoring a bill that would undo the self-serving damage that monopoly model telcos and cable companies, and their allies, did to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) in 2017.

Senate bill 1130 raises California’s minimum broadband standard from the pathetic 6 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload speeds that support incumbent business plans and little else, to modern, symmetrical 25 Mbps service, and sets a de facto goal of deploying future proof fiber infrastructure in any community, regardless of population density or household income levels.… More

CPUC approves DSL upgrade subsidy for Frontier at $4,700 per home

27 September 2019 by Steve Blum
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Weimar casf project

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a $693,000 grant to Frontier Communications from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) for a DSL equipment upgrade in the Placer County community of Weimar earlier this month. It was a considerably smaller grant than Frontier requested.

The project originally included the somewhat larger town of Colfax and called for a CASF subsidy of $2.3 million to reach 1,400 homes that, Frontier said, lacked access to broadband service at California’s pathetic minimum of 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds.… More

Plumas and Lassen County broadband projects proposed for California subsidies

30 April 2019 by Steve Blum
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Mohawk vista

Applications for broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) are due tomorrow, but the Plumas-Sierra Electric Co-op (PSEC) wasn’t in a mood to wait. It submitted five project proposals on Saturday, totalling $12 million in grant requests.

PSEC serves Plumas, Sierra and Lassen counties in northeastern California, and is one of three electrical service cooperatives in the state. It branched out into broadband service several years ago and has received both state and federal grants to build out its network.… More

CPUC proposes low income, no service available requirements for household broadband extension grants

28 March 2019 by Steve Blum
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Remote road

The final piece of the California broadband subsidy puzzle is on the table. The California Public Utilities Commission posted a draft of the new “line extension program”. It’s a pilot project set up by the legislature in 2017 when it rigged the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), turning it into a piggy bank for AT&T and Frontier Communications.

The line extension program was included at the urging of cable lobbyists, who wanted to tap the piggy bank too, but didn’t want to take on any of the regulatory responsibilities that normally go along with state broadband infrastructure grants.… More

AT&T, Frontier, Charter carve out exclusive California subsidy territory

16 January 2019 by Steve Blum
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As expected, AT&T and Frontier Communications blocked broadband infrastructure grants in vast swaths of rural California yesterday, at least for anyone but themselves. The companies filed reports with the California Public Utilities Commission stating they weren’t giving up federal Connect America Fund subsidies in any of the census blocks they claimed in 2015.

Charter Communications tried a similar trick, submitting a letter telling the CPUC where it will be upgrading video-only analog systems to digital capability later this year.… More

Big telecom will see familiar, friendly faces at California capitol in 2019

28 December 2018 by Steve Blum
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California capitol horses 625

California broadband policy will be in the same legislative hands in 2019. Senate and assembly leaders announced committee assignments for the new term, and the chairs of the committees that dealt with major telecoms issues over the past couple of years remain the same.

Miguel Santiago (D – Los Angeles) retained his seat as chair of the assembly communications and conveyances committee. He didn’t make it into the top ranks – no leadership post or a seat on the powerful rules, appropriations or budget committees.… More

CPUC reboots California broadband infrastructure subsidies, as well as can be hoped

14 December 2018 by Steve Blum
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California has more than $300 million available to subsidise broadband infrastructure, thanks to a law passed last year by the California legislature. Also thanks to that law, the rules governing who can get the subsidies and where it can be spent were rigged, with the aim of protecting telco and cable monopolies, and funneling money into their pockets.

It was up to the California Public Utilities Commission to rewrite the rules that subsidy applicants have to follow and that govern how broadband subsidy proposals will be evaluated and approved.… More