CPUC judge tells Frontier, consumer groups to stop squabbling and deal with the issues

15 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Both Frontier Communications and the “intervenors” who want a say in how its bankruptcy reorganisation plays out in California were scolded yesterday by a California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge (ALJ). The result might be a delay – maybe a week, maybe something else – in concluding the CPUC’s review of the reorganisation plan and the bankruptcy settlement.

In an emailed ruling, ALJ Peter Wercinski cancelled three days of hearings scheduled for the end of the month, saying that none of the parties involved have yet addressed the issues surrounding the bankruptcy that were identified by the commission

The Public Advocates Office stated in its October 12, 2020 response that “all material issues in the Scoping Memo remain at issue.”


California broadband project subsidy requests trimmed, but most might go to the back of the line

14 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Sunesys build freedom blvd 625Three revised broadband project grant applications to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) were posted over the past couple of days. Two fiber to the premise builds – Frontier Communications’ in Crescent City and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications’ in the Scott Road area of Lassen and Sierra counties – were trimmed by a few hundred thousand dollars. But another – Hunter Communication’s $290 million proposal in Mendocino County – was slashed to $158 million.

Even so, Hunter’s prospects are dismal.… More

AT&T abandons rural broadband systems as it stops selling 1990s era DSL tech

8 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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AT&T will no longer sell new connections to old school DSL service, although it claims it will continue to support customers who already have it. It notified customers of the change via the last cycle of bill statements. In one respect, it’s a rational and proper decision – AT&T offers much better service via newer technology – but in another respect it’s bad news: wireline networks in rural communities redlined by AT&T haven’t been sufficiently maintained, let alone upgraded, to support modern systems.… More

Newsom urged to call lawmakers back to Sacramento to close broadband gap

7 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Salinas taco bell broadband

More than 60 people representing nearly as many organisations signed a letter, which was delivered on Tuesday, asking California governor Gavin Newsom to declare a special legislative session to specifically address the growing divide between digital haves and have nots in California…

As leaders in industry, local government, non-profit, education, and media, we represent millions of Californian families, teachers, and older adults, all of whom should have access to the benefits of technology. We urge you to use your authority as Governor to reconvene the state legislature under a special session to pass universal broadband access legislation this year that makes the necessary investments in 21st century access to end the digital divide.


California broadband subsidy proposals go into extra innings, with new rules and more competition

5 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Extra innings

The fate of the 54 pending proposals for broadband infrastructure grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) won’t be fully known until early next year, assuming the California Public Utilities Commission approves a draft rewrite of the program’s rules. The goal is to use CASF money to make Californian bids more competitive in the reverse auction for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) subsidies that’ll be run by the Federal Communications Commission later this month.… More

CPUC fumbles bid to win billions of federal broadband dollars for California

2 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Californian Internet service providers that try for broadband deployment subsidies in the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction later this month might be able to sweeten their bids by as much as 10% or 20%. Or they might not.

Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission published what might be described as a discussion draft of possible rules for using money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to backfill RDOF bids.… More

Frontier is the only wired broadband choice for 69,000 low income California households, if they can get it at all

1 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Cpuc map frontier low income territory

A “collection of facts” about Frontier Communications’ history as a broadband and telephone service provider in California will serve as a primer for members of the public that want to weigh in on the California Public Utilities Commission’s review of the company’s bankruptcy settlement.

The report analyses the thousands of complaints about Frontier’s service and billing practices over the years, and the service quality problems it continues to have. In some respects, Frontier is doing better – it’s on track to have fewer complaints this year than last – but it has continuing issues with service outages and repair times.… More

CPUC considers topping up broadband subsidy fund, but money will still fall short

22 September 2020 by Steve Blum
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Sick piggy bank

California’s primary broadband infrastructure subsidy fund will grow by about $70 million, if the California Public Utilities Commission approves a proposal to nearly double the tax that pays for it.

The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) gets its money from a tax on phone calls made within California. That’s source of revenue is on the decline. The CPUC can collect up to $66 million a year for the fund (more, under certain circumstances), and sets the tax rate accordingly.… More

Broadband and other hot, unfinished business might send the California legislature into overtime. But don’t bet on it

10 September 2020 by Steve Blum
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Chp horses capitol 3feb2016

The California legislature might not be done with broadband for the year. Or with other major issues it failed to address as the regular session collapsed into inter-house and partisan acrimony last week. Governor Gavin Newson is being asked to call the legislature back into topic-focused special sessions and broadband is on the list, along with housing, policing and other disputes. It’s also possible that the legislature will come back on its own. They can do that for particular kinds of bills, mostly ones that need a two-thirds majority such as “urgency” legislature or tax measures.… More

Taco Bell cares more about disconnected Californians than California’s leaders do

4 September 2020 by Steve Blum
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Salinas taco bell broadband

Kids sitting on curb in front of a fast food restaurant in order to get the broadband connection they need to go to schools that only operate online now is the best we can do now. The California legislature was diverted by pork barrel schemes from friends of AT&T, Comcast and other monopoly model incumbents, and finally bought into submission by the millions of dollars that those big telecoms companies pay them. Lawmakers took no action on bringing California’s broadband standard up to 21st century levels and did nothing to make it available to the millions of Californians who lack access to to it.… More