We’re doing better than Bangladesh, so give us money, telcos tell U.S. senate

India utility pole

Telephone companies don’t appear to having the same success cable companies have had with broadband promotions during the covid–19 emergency. The head of telco’s primary Washington, D.C. lobbying front organisation asked a U.S. senate committee on Wednesday to “keep providers on sound financial footing” and urged the use of existing, incumbent-friendly federal programs to distribute subsidies directly to them.

California’s two major telephone companies – AT&T and Frontier Communications – aren’t offering service at the 25 Mbps at $15 or less per month covid–19 benchmark set by California Public Utilities Commission president Marybel Batjer.… More

CPUC slaps down Charter’s bid to monopolise low income housing, says owner has “right to choose”

2 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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John wayne slap

Northern Valley Catholic Social Service (NVCSS) builds, owns and operates more than a dozen public housing communities in the northern Sacramento Valley. It applied for a public housing broadband facilities grant from the California Advanced Services Fund for a new project in Redding, which prompted strident objections from Charter Communications.

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the grant and told Charter that it can’t block broadband subsidies for low income residents just because it happens in the neighborhood…

In its application, NVCSS stated that the Woodlands II project is a planned low-income housing development (new construction) and not wired for broadband internet.


Last surviving California broadband subsidy bill goes wobbly

24 April 2017 by Steve Blum
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Broadband infrastructure subsidies are due for a vote on Wednesday at a California assembly committee hearing, but there’s no final text yet. What started out as four placeholder bills targeting the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) – the state’s primary broadband subsidy program – has dwindled down to one, assembly bill 1665, carried by assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D – Riverside County).

As of this morning, no updated bill language has been posted. Over the past few months, AB 1665 has been the subject of many meetings between legislators, telephone and cable company lobbyists, and other interests, notably the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), which has taken the lead on this bill.… More

Federal broadband funding guide is mostly old news

3 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click to read it for yourself.

A new booklet published by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration outlining ways to finance broadband projects contains no surprises. It’s a summary of federal programs that fund, or might fund, broadband infrastructure and it’s useful as a reference. But there’s no new money on the table, and many of the programs listed are either restricted in scope – Appalachia or tribal areas, for example – or are narrowly focused on specific users, such as libraries or public housing residents.… More

Broadband projects should compete for more federal money, report recommends

22 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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Broadband gets a swing at it too.

There’s not a lot new in the recommendations released yesterday by the federal Broadband Opportunity Council, an interagency talking shop launched earlier this year as part of U.S. president Barack Obama’s community broadband initiative. But it is useful source for information about existing federal broadband programs and it at least gets some commitments, and even a few deadlines, down on paper.

The big question, of course, is where’s the money?More

It's a brand new game for California broadband subsidies

13 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Expect a different kind of give and take.

Until this week, if you wanted to apply for a grant to build broadband infrastructure in an unserved or poorly served area of California, you could do so with a reasonable expectation that there was enough money in the kitty to cover your request. Not anymore.
Everything changed on Monday when Inyo Networks and Race Telecommunications each filed grant proposals in the $50 million range. That meant that the total amount of pending grant applications is more than the available money in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).… More

Public housing gets broadband love from federal government

16 July 2015 by Steve Blum
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Fresno and Los Angeles made the list of 27 cities and one tribal nation that will be getting federal help in extending broadband service to more public housing residents. The ConnectHome program was announced yesterday by U.S. president Barack Obama. The press release was a hodge podge of details, but it seems to boil down to…

  • Some of the communities – but not LA or Fresno – will get discounted, or even free, Internet access in public housing projects from ISPs, including Suddenlink, Cox, CenturyLink and Google Fiber.

Constructive ideas (mostly) offered for Californian broadband subsidy plan

14 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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Except for a couple of not so veiled threats of legal action, the comments submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission regarding a new plan to re-start the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program were generally positive, with few specific recommendations for changes. The nastiness came from the cable industry’s lobbyists in Sacramento – the California Cable and Telecommunications Association – and Verizon (more on that tomorrow).

Comments from other incumbent telephone companies – with the glaring exception of AT&T, which didn’t submit any – were more nuanced.… More