Governor Brown signs community broadband bond financing bills into law

30 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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Cities and other local agencies in California will be able to issue bonds to pay for building broadband infrastructure, thanks to two new laws approved by Governor Brown yesterday. Assembly bill 2292 and senate bill 628 expand the use of infrastructure financing districts (IFDs), on the one hand specifically allowing broadband to be included in old-style IFDs and creating a new kind, called enhanced infrastructure financing districts, on the other. In both cases, the bonds can be repaid by earmarking the incremental tax revenue that the project is expected to produce.… More

Governor's pen will write the story for community broadband development in California

18 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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Three bills with big implications for community broadband in California are still sitting on Governor Brown’s desk, waiting for his approval or veto:

Assembly bill 2272 would blow a huge hole in the California Advanced Services Fund and roll back much of the progress made last year when the legislature – and Brown – added $90 million to the kitty and made independent ISPs eligible for broadband construction subsidies. By requiring every CASF-funded project – past, present and future – to follow the state’s so-called prevailing wage rules, the effective subsidy would drop from 60% (for underserved areas) to less than 30% and the cost to the state would nearly double.… More

California legislature puts broadband infrastructure financing on par with water and roads

19 August 2014 by Steve Blum
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Roads, water, sewers, broadband. You need it all to build an economy.

It’s up to governor Brown to decide whether broadband infrastructure gets equal treatment with transportation and water projects in California, at least when local governments want to build it. On a lopsided vote, the state assembly approved the final version of assembly bill 2292 yesterday, which explicitly allows local governments to use infrastructure financing districts (IFDs) to issue bonds to build broadband projects, and then pay the money back with property tax revenue.… More

California legislature can help and hurt broadband infrastructure development this week

18 August 2014 by Steve Blum
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One step forward and two slides back.

Two bills with big implications for broadband infrastructure in California are queued up for votes in the state legislature this week. Assembly bill 2272 was blessed by the senate leadership last week and sent on for a floor vote. The date hasn’t been set yet.

That bill would put a huge dent in the California Advanced Services Fund by requiring all the projects it subsidises to follow an inflated statewide set of union work rules and pay scales, regardless of who is doing the job or what the going rates are in a particular area.… More

California bill defining broadband as public infrastructure diverted for review

8 August 2014 by Steve Blum
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A proposal to include broadband infrastructure in the list of things that special infrastructure financing districts (IFD) can pay for in California has been kicked to an assembly committee.

The measure – assembly bill 2292 – was approved by the California senate earlier this week, and was headed to a vote by full assembly. But because it was done using the gut-and-amend process – the text in an earlier bill that had almost nothing to do with the subject was stripped out and replaced with broadband financing language – the bill was diverted to the local government committee for review.… More

New public financing method for broadband clears California senate

5 August 2014 by Steve Blum
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Padilla steps up for local broadband financing.

Broadband would be added to the list of public works projects that cities and counties in California can pay for via infrastructure financing districts (IFDs), under a bill passed by the state senate yesterday on a 36 to 0 floor vote. Assembly bill 2292 started life as a way of financing rail transport at the Port of Oakland, but was gutted and rewritten by assemblyman Rob Bonta (D – Oakland), at the suggestion of San Leandro’s mayor, Stephen Cassidy.… More

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

Broadband infrastructure gets same financing status as roads, water in California bill

23 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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At the end, it’s a brilliant idea.

The twists and turns of the legislative season in Sacramento produce surprises. This year is no different. Assembly bill 2292 was originally targeted to rail projects in Oakland, but other legislation took care of it. So following a conversation with San Leandro mayor Stephen Cassidy the bill’s author, assemblyman Rob Bonta, a democrat who represents both cities, turned it into a way to pay for municipal broadband projects.

Cities and counties in California can form infrastructure financing districts (IFDs) to pay for building “regional scale public works”.… More