Zorro in, Yoda out as a new political era begins in California

5 January 2019 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Zorro 625 tall

California has had three democratic governors in the past 75 years: Pat Brown, Jerry Brown and Jerry Brown’s chief of staff. And the chief of staff – Gray Davis – didn’t end well. That changes on Monday, when Gavin Newsom is sworn in.

Jerry Brown earned his reputation as the wise old man at the California capitol. But he’s also a skilled operator, with the finest political mind in California. He would jump into a fight when it was both necessary and winnable, and he rarely, if ever lost.… More

Weak net neutrality language offered to save California assembly’s “integrity”

25 June 2018 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Network neutrality rules have another chance in Sacramento tomorrow. The California assembly’s privacy and consumer protection committee takes up senate bill 822, after it was eviscerated – to use the author’s verb – by the communications and conveyances committee last week. Anything might happen, but the cards on the table now point toward modest and rickety repairs, rather than complete reversal of the damage.

The privacy and consumer protection committee published its staff analysis of the bill, which suggested simplifying it by referencing the now-repealed 2015 net neutrality decision by the Federal Communications Commission, and telling Internet service providers to comply with the rules it laid down – no more, no less.… More

Frontier CEO leaves the door open to a California exit

1 March 2018 by Steve Blum
, ,

Frontier Communications had a rough day yesterday, following the release of its fourth quarter 2017 results and the announcement that is would no longer be paying dividends to shareholders. Instead, it will direct that money toward paying down its substantial debt.

The company’s share price dropped about 24% on the day, continuing a slide that’s seen it lose more than 80% of its value over the past year. In a conference call with analysts, president and CEO Dan McCarthy was asked about rumors that Frontier was trying to sell off the wireline systems it acquired from Verizon two years ago in California, Texas and Florida – what it calls its “CTF” market.… More

Frontier preps to say adios to California, report says

4 February 2018 by Steve Blum
, ,

Less than two years after it flipped the switch and took over Verizon’s wireline systems in California – and the two million subscribers that were on those systems at the time – Bloomberg is reporting that Frontier wants out. According to the story by Nabila Ahmed and Scott Moritz, the company has engaged advisors in an attempt to reduce a crushing debt load by selling off assets (h/t to Fred Pilot at Eldo Telecom Blog for the pointer)…

The company is considering a sale of a package of landline assets in California, Florida and Texas that it acquired from Verizon Communications Inc.


AT&T's FirstNet deal means more but slower broadband in rural California

2 January 2018 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Governor Brown’s decision to join the federal FirstNet public safety radio system has pluses and minuses for rural broadband development in California. The system is intended to provide data connectivity and interoperable communications for police, fire and other first responder agencies across the U.S. The federal government awarded a $6.5 billion contract to AT&T to build and operate it.

As a part of the deal, AT&T is getting 20 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band.… More

California joins federal FirstNet public safety radio system, run by AT&T

29 December 2017 by Steve Blum
, ,

Governor Brown announced that the state is opting in to the nationwide FirstNet public safety radio system that’ll be run by AT&T, under a contract from the federal government. Yesterday was the deadline, and California was the last state to decide. All 50 states have now opted in.

In his opt-in letter, Brown said he still has reservations about the 25 year project…

This letter serves as notice…that California has decided to participate in the deployment of the nationwide, interoperable broadband network as proposed in the FirstNet State Plan.


Frontier punts on California broadband subsidy obligation

Frontier is bragging about how well it’s doing with the broadband infrastructure and service upgrades it promised to do, in exchange for $2 billion in federal subsidies. But not in California.

When it accepted the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund (CAF) money in 2015, Frontier agreed to deliver a minimal level of service – 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds – to 58,000 homes and businesses in California in exchange for a total of $228 million, paid out over six years in $38 million increments.… More

Brown okays new rules for subscription services, CPUC reform, law enforcement

10 October 2017 by Steve Blum
, ,

As we’re waiting for governor Jerry Brown to decide the fate of the two big broadband bills of the 2017 California legislative session – assembly bill 1665 and senate bill 649 – it’s a good time to take a quick look at some other relevant legislation he’s approved.

Brown signed SB 19 and SB 385 into law. Together, those two bills reorganise some of the California Public Utilities Commission’s responsibilities, although telecommunications oversight was left untouched.… More

California broadband adoption rate flat for 5 years

8 July 2017 by Steve Blum
, ,

The in-home broadband subscription rate in California is the same now as it was five years ago, and the cost of service is the biggest barrier to adoption. That’s the top line result from an annual survey commissioned by the California Emerging Technology Fund. This year, the research was carried out by U.C. Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. It found that in 2017, 69% of Californian households are connected to the Internet via a “computing device”, which is the same rate as in 2013.… More

California's broadband speeds rank second among its peers

7 December 2016 by Steve Blum
, ,

Where it really counts, California’s broadband speeds come out on top, or nearly so. We’re the sixth largest economy in the world, and our average broadband speeds rank second, 1 Mbps behind Japan. According to the Akamai State of the Internet report for April through June of 2016, the average Internet user in Japan connected to its content delivery network at 17.1 Mbps, while the average Californian connected at 16.1 Mbps.

Average connection speeds in Japan slowed a bit in the second quarter, from a high of 18.2 Mbps, as did California’s average, which was 16.4 Mbps in the first quarter of 2016.… More