Broadband fading into dull necessity at California legislature

26 February 2019 by Steve Blum
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Unlike electric service, broadband isn’t turning out to be a hot topic at the California capitol this year. Friday was the 2019 deadline for introducing new bills in both the assembly and senate. Nothing of any consequence directly relating to broadband issues dropped.

Only two bills address broadband head on – assembly bill 1409 by Ed Chau (D – Los Angeles) and AB 488 by Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Yolo) – but neither breaks new ground as introduced.… More

Big telecom will see familiar, friendly faces at California capitol in 2019

28 December 2018 by Steve Blum
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California capitol horses 625

California broadband policy will be in the same legislative hands in 2019. Senate and assembly leaders announced committee assignments for the new term, and the chairs of the committees that dealt with major telecoms issues over the past couple of years remain the same.

Miguel Santiago (D – Los Angeles) retained his seat as chair of the assembly communications and conveyances committee. He didn’t make it into the top ranks – no leadership post or a seat on the powerful rules, appropriations or budget committees.… More

Telecoms lobbyists tell Calfornia lawmakers which side of the digital divide they're on

2 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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Lobbyists for AT&T and the California cable industry gave state assembly members clear insight into why rural broadband development is such an intractable challenge. It wasn’t exactly the insight they were planning to deliver – that consisted mostly of platitudes about the wonderful work they’re doing and the evils of subsidising independent companies that would dare to compete against them. The insight came from the way they tried to divert attention away from the rural questions that the assembly’s select committee on the digital divide in California is tasked with answering, and toward the investment they’re indisputably making in more lucrative urban areas.… More

California broadband follows people, not land

30 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for the full picture.

It’s easy to think that the California you see is the California you have. If you live and work in, say, the Bay Area or Los Angeles, California is a mix of freeways, strip malls and offices packed with creative, tech savvy people. That view, or something not far from it, is what 95% of Californians see. But it’s only 5% of the state.

The other 5% of Californians and 95% of the state is rural.… More

Three ways to bridge California's digital divide

29 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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Not the best way to solve transportation problems either.

I was at the state assembly’s select committee on the digital divide in California on Tuesday, and offered my comments…
Good morning. My name is Stephen Blum, my company is Tellus Venture Associates, in Marina, in Assemblyman Stone’s district. I’m a broadband development consultant and a member of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium. I work for several cities and other regional broadband consortia in California, in both urban and rural areas.… More

Do your own thing is a poor way to plan broadband in California

28 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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“The funding seems to be in silos, how do we break these silos down?”, asked assemblyman Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg) at the first meeting of the assembly’s select committee on the digital divide in California this morning. He was responding to presentations from representatives of organisations that specialise in developing broadband infrastructure for education, health care and public safety agencies. Those networks meet important needs, but for the most part have been, or are being, built with little or no consideration for overall broadband infrastructure development priorities in the state.… More

Local control over wireless permits, CPUC management on the table as California legislature returns

17 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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The California legislature is back from its summer vacation today. Four weeks are left in the floor schedule: both houses are supposed to wrap up debate and voting for the year by 11 September 2015. Several bills with implications for telecommunications policy are still in the mix, including…

  • Assembly bill 57 – requires local agencies to meet federal “shot clock” requirements for processing permit applications for cell sites and other wireless broadband projects.
  • Assembly bill 806 – allows the installation of antennae and wireless nodes on overhead utility lines, more or less without local approval.

CPUC needs a smart and aggressive cat

Telling it like it is.

Mark Ferron, a commissioner on the California Public Utilities Commission, recently – and abruptly – announced he was resigning. What had been a very private battle with prostate cancer took a turn for the worse, and he stepped down in order to focus his energy on his health and family. His resignation message is worth reading for his insight on prostate cancer alone. But Ferron also leaves his fellow commissioners with some pointed advice on winning the – also heretofore private – struggle he sees to maintain relevance.… More