Newsom says Californians should get 100 Mbps, but doesn’t say how

17 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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California governor Gavin Newsom finished up work last week with an executive order directing state agencies – at least the ones that report to him – to…

…pursue a minimum broadband speed goal of 100 megabits per second download speed to guide infrastructure investments and program implementation to benefit all Californians.

To achieve that goal…

Within ninety days of the date of this Executive Order, the California Broadband Task Force shall provide a preliminary report to the Office of the Governor that identifies administrative actions that can result in immediate promotion of broadband access and usage within the State.


California broadband subsidy bill goes from farce to tragedy as Big Telecom gets right of the first night

13 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Braveheart jus primae noctis

To ensure that money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) doesn’t go to independent Internet service providers who might loosen cable’s and telco’s monopoly/duopoly grip on Californians’ broadband access, the newly amended assembly bill 570 gives incumbents a right of first refusal over any subsidised broadband infrastructure project proposed by anyone in their footprints.

A small tweak to the bill’s language gives cable and telephone companies a huge competitive advantage over independent ISPs. Current rules define grant eligibility on the basis of the infrastructure and service that’s available right now.… More

Taxing a dying business and giving the money to Big Telecoms’ friends won’t get kids to school

11 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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One room school

California’s broadband infrastructure subsidy program is about to run out of money. With $145 million left in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) under current assumptions, and $533 million in pending project proposals, it’s likely to go dry this year, even as schools go completely online.

The problem isn’t the 2022 end of the program’s funding mechanism, as one bill sitting in the California legislature claims. Assembly bill 570 is ghostwritten by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), an incumbent-funded and advised non-profit, and carried by assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Yolo), who is also well paid by AT&T, cable companies and other industry interests.… More

Two broadband subsidy bills face California legislators. One walks away, the other limps

4 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Liberty and the duke 625

Both of the active broadband bills in the California legislature survived committee hearings yesterday. The bill with higher broadband standards passed without changes. Slower speed standards in a rival, pork-stuffed measure were sharply criticised. It has to overcome double barrelled skepticism before it moves much further.

Senate bill 1130, authored by senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles), would raise California’s minimum broadband standard to symmetrical 25 Mbps download/25 Mbps upload speeds. The assembly communications and conveyances committee approved it as presented.… More

Dueling broadband bills face off in California legislature today

3 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Fast, reliable, future-proof broadband gets a hearing this morning as the California assembly’s communications and conveyances committee (C&C) takes up senate bill 1130. A competing measure – assembly bill 570 – which would lock rural Californians into 1990s DSL technology for another decade or two, will be heard by the senate’s energy, utilities and communications committee (EU&C) this afternoon.

So far, there’s no indication of legislative pushback on SB 1130, which is authored by senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles).… More

Small payoffs from big cable, telcos buy support from non profits and politicians in Sacramento and D.C.

31 July 2020 by Steve Blum
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Need a beer

Petty cash can be as effective in buying political support as megabuck payments to elected officials and political parties. The latest example is unfolding in Washington, D.C., where Charter Communications is asking the Federal Communications Commission for permission to 1. enforce data caps on its customers and 2. start charging video competitors for access to those customers two years before the expiration of conditions imposed when it acquired Time Warner cable systems.

It’s the same story with assembly bill 570, which would lock Californians into slow broadband for a generation while shovelling taxpayer money to Frontier Communications and cable companies for minimal upgrades.… More

Telcos, cable delete fiber, add more pork to rival broadband subsidy bill in California legislature

29 July 2020 by Steve Blum
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Pure pork night 625

Frontier Communications grabs a bankruptcy bailout and cable companies get subsidies to reach high income homes in the latest version of assembly bill 570, posted on the California legislature’s website on Monday. It’s big telecom’s alternative to senate bill 1130, which would raise California’s minimum broadband standard to symmetrical 25 Mbps fiber-ish speeds.

AB 570 is authored by assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Yolo). Through the end of last year, she collected $83,000 from companies in the communications and electronics sector, including $24,000 from AT&T and $12,000 from Comcast, Charter Communications and other cable companies, according to the FollowTheMoney.orgMore

Short broadband to-do list for California legislators upon return from summer vacation

6 July 2020 by Steve Blum
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California lawmakers are taking an abbreviated summer break. They usually leave Sacramento for a month around July, but since they were off for so long earlier this year due to covid-19 and because of the uncertain condition of the state budget, their effective vacation was trimmed back to less than two weeks. They’re scheduled to return to the capitol a week from today. When they return, they’ll have just a handful of broadband-related bills to act on.… More

Bill to beat down broadband subsidy program drops in California assembly

1 July 2020 by Steve Blum
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Liberty valence 625

It was long expected. On Monday, assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Yolo) gutted an affordable housing bill and substituted text that would, if enacted, reaffirm that California’s broadband standard is stuck in the 1990s at 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds, and make it even more difficult to use the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to bring modern service to rural communities.

Assembly bill 570 is the cable and telephone industry’s response to senate bill 1130, which is carried by senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles) and would raise California’s minimum broadband speed to a symmetrical 25 Mbps down and up.… More