Enviro fast track for LA network, slow lane for lifeline okayed by governor

27 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Two more telecoms-related bills have been signed by governor Jerry Brown, and several more – of greater consequence – are hanging in the balance with four days to go before his veto deadline.

Without comment, Brown approved assembly bill 2570 and senate bill 1008. AB 2570 deals with restrictions on low income lifeline telephone (and broadband) subsidies and was watered down in the final days of the legislative session. As originally written by assemblyman Bill Quirk (D – Hayward), anyone who signs up for a subsidised service plan would be stuck with that carrier for a minimum of two months.… More

Caltrans open trench notification bill signed by governor

26 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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California governor Jerry Brown signed assembly bill 1549 on Friday, which means it will be law as of New Year’s Day. Authored by assemblyman Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg), the bill requires Caltrans to let everyone who is interested know when there might be an opportunity to install broadband conduit in a highway construction project…

During the project planning phase of a department-led highway construction project that was initiated on or after January 1, 2017, is parallel to the highway, and involves construction methods that are suitable for installing broadband conduit, the department shall notify companies and organizations working on broadband deployment of the project on its Internet Web site to encourage collaborative broadband installations.


Governor Brown contemplates a stack of broadband decisions

13 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Say yes to the trench.

Although it isn’t as high or as deep as originally hope, governor Brown has a significant pile of broadband-related bills that he’ll have to work through by the end of the month.

My favorite is assembly bill 1549 by assemblyman Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg). It started out as an ambitious attempt to bring Caltrans around to the idea that fiber and conduit are transportation infrastructure too. It won a series of unanimous votes as it moved through the legislature, but in the end it was considerably trimmed back to satisfy Brown, who was more accepting of Caltrans’ opposition to the bill.… More

Caltrans buries dig once conduit bill

24 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Too much work.

Under a veto threat from governor Brown, a bill that would have required Caltrans to cooperate with, and even participate in, broadband infrastructure development has been trimmed back to the point where it’s largely symbolic. Not completely: as currently drafted, assembly bill 1549 would still require Caltrans to allow all interested parties – independent Internet service providers and local governments included – to add conduit to state highway construction projects…

For the purpose of supporting fiber optic communication cables, after receiving notification from the department, a company or organization working on broadband deployment may collaborate with the department to install a broadband conduit as part of the project.


Caltrans shovels hard to avoid digging once

11 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Proceed with caution.

The only opposition so far to a bill that would require Caltrans to cooperate with broadband projects and notify companies and local governments when opportunities arise to install conduit is coming, not surprisingly, from Caltrans itself.

Assembly bill 1549 by Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg) has so far sailed through the California legislature unanimously. But with the bill sitting in the senate appropriations committee, the final stop before a full floor vote, the state finance department is pushing Caltrans’ bizarre argument that it’s not needed because its record keeping is so screwed up that fixing it would only make it worse…

Caltrans does not keep a complete and up-to-date inventory of all existing conduits within its existing right-of-way.


Californian telecoms policy decisions slide out of public view in Sacramento

4 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Affairs of state.

Several broadband-related bills pending in the California senate were sent to the suspense file by the appropriations committee this week. That’s a standard maneuver that keeps them on ice until near the end of August when the session ends. At that point, a small group of legislative leaders will decide which will move forward and which will not.

A proposal to prevent lifeline telephone customers from switching carriers is one of the bills that’s on hold.… More

California dig once broadband conduit bill heard and held

2 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Wasn’t Caltrans supposed to tell us about this?

The California legislature returned from its summer break yesterday, and immediately got to work on broadband-related issues. The big one on the table yesterday was assembly bill 1549.

Testifying in front of the senate appropriations committee, the bill’s author, assemblyman Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg) said that Caltrans isn’t following an executive order by then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger directing it to cooperate with broadband development efforts, and was lackadaisical about the one open trench pilot program that it ran…

AB 1549 puts in statute many of the requirements of the executive order from 2006.


California broadband policy bills await action in August

8 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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Right after summer break.

Other than the yet-to-be-defined regulatory reform package aimed at overhauling the California Public Utilities Commission, only a handful of telecoms-related bills will remain on the table when the California legislature returns from its month long summer break in August.

Assembly bill 2570 would make it harder for people receiving lifeline telephone subsidies to switch plans by setting a two month waiting period and would require the CPUC to reimburse phone companies relatively quickly or pay penalties.… More

Big okay for California dig once bill

16 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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Broadband infrastructure.

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the California senate’s transportation and housing committee approved assembly bill 1549, a proposal carried by north coast assemblyman Jim Wood. I was among those at the hearing and prepared to speak on its behalf, but we took our cue from committee chair Jim Beall (D – Silicon Valley) who, in polite words, hinted there’s no opposition, we’re all in favor, so make it quick. So we did.… More

California dig once bill beefed up

24 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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At least it’s moving again.

Caltrans would have to let broadband companies and other organisations know about opportunities to include conduit in road construction and maintenance projects. If no one bites, then Caltrans would install it. That’s what new dig once amendments to assembly bill 1549 would require, if it becomes law…

  • During the design phase of a department-led highway construction project, the department shall notify verified companies and organizations of the project to encourage collaborative broadband installations.