Broadband policy on hold for lawmaker's summer vacation

3 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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Californian legislators are off for the next month, heading out of Sacramento this afternoon just ahead of the July 4th holiday and not scheduled to return until early August. At which point, they’ll have a less than month to act on the stack of bills in front of them, which includes two that carry significant implications for public broadband financing in California.

Assembly bill 2272 would about double the cost of broadband projects subsidised by the California Advanced Services Fund, by imposing union pay and work rules, regardless of who is doing the construction.… More

Higher costs for subsidised broadband projects in California will come out of rural ISP pockets

27 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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Unfinished business.

It seems the only question left to answer about whether union pay scales and work rules will be applied to projects subsidised by the California Advanced Services Fund is where the money will come from. Following Wednesday’s hearing in the senate labor and industrial relations committee, it seems all but certain that the California legislature will approve assembly bill 2272, which would unequivocally impose so-called prevailing wage requirements on CASF infrastructure projects.

On a 4 to 1 party line vote, the committee approved the bill (with some clean up language), but didn’t include an amendment requested by lobbyists representing rural telecoms companies that would give them a statutory basis for asking the California Public Utilities Commission to cover the difference for existing projects.… More

California broadband construction cost leap clears key hurdle

18 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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Work undone.

A couple of tweaks were made, but the substance of assembly bill 2272 remains the same following discussion and approval by the California senate energy, utilities and communications committee yesterday. AB 2272 would impose union pay and work rules requirements on all broadband infrastructure projects funded by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), nearly doubling the cost for both taxpayers and ISPs.

The committee rejected a proposal to limit the new rules to future projects, opting instead to make the requirement retroactive.… More

California senate committee better prepped to consider bill raising broadband construction costs

16 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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A new barrier to better broadband in California?

There’s finally some push back to the idea that the cost of building ratepayer-subsidised broadband infrastructure should nearly double in California. An analysis prepared for the state senate’s energy, communications and utilities committee lists two industry lobbying groups – CalTel and CalCom – and one company – Consolidated Communications, formerly SureWest – as opposing assembly bill 2272, which would bring all projects funded by the California Advanced Services Fund under what is euphemistically called the state’s prevailing wage law.… More

Bill hiking broadband construction costs approved by California assembly

27 May 2014 by Steve Blum
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The initial roll call, subject to revision.

Taking little more than a minute, the California assembly approved assembly bill 2272 this afternoon. The measure would add broadband infrastructure subsidised by the California Advanced Services Fund to the list of publicly funded projects that are subject to what are called “prevailing wage” requirements. That would mean that all work done – including work paid for by private matching funds – would be done according to union pay rates and rules.… More

Broadband construction cost hike slides toward California assembly vote

26 May 2014 by Steve Blum
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Assembly bill 2272 is primed for approval by the California assembly. It would jack up the cost of subsidised broadband infrastructure projects – nearly double in some cases – and make it harder, perhaps impossible, for independent Internet service providers to get money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

On Friday the appropriations committee, by a 13 to 4 margin, sent the bill forward to a vote on the assembly floor. It didn’t quite split along party lines – republican assemblyman Eric Linder, who represents the Corona area, joined the dozen democrats on the committee in voting aye.… More

Bill raising broadband construction costs sent to Sacramento's inner sanctum

1 May 2014 by Steve Blum
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A proposal to hike the cost of subsidised broadband projects in California is in the hands of legislative leaders, who will decide its fate behind closed doors.

On Wednesday, the assembly appropriations committee put assembly bill 2272 on hold via a procedural mechanism called the suspense file. It joins a long list of bills that will stay in legislative limbo until the state budget is passed. Senior assembly members will then meet in private to decide which bills go forward and which do not.… More

California lawmakers vote to raise broadband construction costs

2 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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One more way to stop broadband competition.

It’s becoming likelier that subsidised broadband projects will be more expensive, if not impossible, following a vote by a California assembly committee this afternoon. The labor and employment committee approved assembly bill 2272, which would put projects paid for by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) under the jurisdiction of the state’s prevailing wage law.
That means that union scale pay and work rules would apply to CASF projects, regardless of whether the companies that build and operate the systems are union shops.… More

California bill would protect broadband incumbents by raising competitors' and consumers' costs

1 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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The empire strikes back.

Broadband infrastructure construction subsidies would be rolled back in California, if a bill pending in the state assembly is approved. Tomorrow – Wednesday 2 April 2014 – the assembly labor and employment committee will consider assembly bill 2272, introduced by assemblyman Adam Gray (D – Merced), which would bring all work funded by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) under the state’s “prevailing wage” law. It would impose union scale wages and work rules on CASF projects – in many cases mandating metropolitan rates and benefits even in remote rural areas.… More