Newsom’s budget plan lowers barriers to public broadband financing

13 January 2019 by Steve Blum
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Following up on one of the items in his campaign manifesto, California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, might make it easier to finance municipal broadband projects. One of the many, many ideas offered in his maiden budget proposal is to make it easier to form enhanced infrastructure financing districts by eliminating requirements for voter approval of bond issues…

Various economic development tools have been introduced following the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs), including Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs).


California’s next governor talks the broadband talk, but will he walk the walk?

9 November 2018 by Steve Blum
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California governor-elect Gavin Newsom has a broadband development track record of sorts. Whether that will translate into sound telecoms infrastructure policy remains to be seen.

When he was mayor of San Francisco, Newsom made a big splash with a deal with Google and Earthlink to blanket the city with WiFi, with free service playing a prominent role in a difficult to understand business plan. That was back during the great municipal WiFi bubble of the mid–2000s.… More

California’s new muni broadband law establishes rights, and net neutrality responsibility

3 October 2018 by Steve Blum
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California governor Jerry Brown actually signed two network neutrality bills into law on Sunday. The Big Kahuna was senate bill 822, which establishes net neutrality rules for Internet service providers doing business in California. But alongside it was assembly bill 1999, which, among things, requires publicly owned broadband systems to abide by net neutrality principles, whether or not their private competitors have to.

It’s a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s good thing for muni broadband systems to operate on a net neutral basis, both from a public policy and a customer service perspective.… More

California muni broadband bill lands on governor Brown’s desk

8 September 2018 by Steve Blum
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Net neutrality isn’t the only broadband issue awaiting a decision from California governor Jerry Brown. As the legislative session wound down to a close last week, the California senate and then the assembly approved assembly bill 1999 more or less on party lines – democrats mostly voted aye, republicans no.

AB 1999 explicitly sets out in law what has been the practice and, to the extent its been challenged, the long standing precedent that Californian cities and some kinds of special districts can build broadband systems and offer service, whether or not it’s in competition with cable and telco monopolies.… More

With a week left, California muni broadband bill still on legislature’s to do list

25 August 2018 by Steve Blum
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A bill that allows more types of local agencies to get into the broadband business, and requires such municipal broadband providers to abide by network neutrality principles, awaits a decision by the California senate. Assembly bill 1999, authored by assemblyman Ed Chau (D – Los Angeles), would remove a restriction that makes it all but impossible for community service districts to get into the broadband business.

It also explicitly allows other types of local agencies, such as county service areas and enhanced infrastructure financing districts (EIFDs), to provide broadband services.… More

California legislature says yes to broadband, online privacy bills

4 June 2018 by Steve Blum
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With Friday’s deadline behind us, we know which bills are getting serious consideration in the California legislature. Any bill that didn’t make it through a full floor vote and get sent from one house to the other is now dead (with the caveat that death is never final so long as the California legislature is still in session).

Short answer: all the bills I’m still following and, for the most part, blogging about live on…

Muni broadband

  • Assembly bill 1999 – specifically authorises community service districts and other agencies to offer broadband services, and requires all muni broadband systems to abide by network neutrality rules.

Muni broadband virtue should be a choice, not a chastity belt

24 May 2018 by Steve Blum
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Well intentioned or not, assembly bill 1999 could work against efforts to preserve network neutrality, and prevent municipal broadband systems in California from competing against big, monopoly-model Internet service providers.

Authored by assemblyman Ed Chau (D – Monterey Park) , AB 1999 was approved by the California assembly and awaits action in the senate. It would: 1. explicitly allow more types of local agencies – e.g. county service areas, community service districts, enhanced infrastructure financing districts – to get into the broadband business, and 2.… More

Muni broadband can defend net neutrality, but winning isn't guaranteed

24 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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Net neutrality and municipal broadband are two separate issues that overlap in a couple of ways. First, there’s an assumption that muni broadband systems will abide by net neutrality principles, even if not required (but there’s a bill in the California legislature, AB 1999, that would require it). It’s an easy pledge to make now, but it’s not a certainty that muni systems could or would swim against the financial tide if the economics of the business changes significantly.… More

California legislature looks at muni broadband rules. Beware

5 February 2018 by Steve Blum
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Municipal broadband is on the line in the California legislature. Assemblyman Ed Chau (D – Monterey Park) introduced assembly bill 1999 last week. As drafted, it would do two things: require muni broadband systems to abide by network neutrality principles and remove restrictions that effectively prevented community services districts from getting into the Internet service provider business.

On the face of it, AB 1999 is straightforward. It succinctly lays out net neutrality rules – no blocking, throttling or paid prioritisation – and applies them to broadband services offered by cities, or by the special districts that are particularly authorised to do so by Californian law.… More