Economic development top priority for Central Coast Broadband Consortium

“Broadband connectivity is the new deepwater seaport,” said Mary Ann Leffel, chair of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium’s (CCBC) economic development expert group and president of the Monterey County Business Council (MCBC). But it’s more than just a visit by a cruise ship. It’s about attracting and keeping businesses and creating jobs.

Economic development is the primary goal of the CCBC, explained Nancy Martin, CCBC executive team member and executive director of MCBC as she opened the discussion at the CCBC’s Get Connected conference she organized in Seaside on 6 December 2012.… More

Mobile carriers' broadband coverage claims challenged by ISPs

Availability maps submitted by mobile telephone carriers are a problem for local Internet companies trying to expand and improve broadband service in California’s central coast region.

Representatives from six Internet service providers – Central Coast Internet, Charter, Cruzio, Razzolink, Redshift and Surfnet – participated in a workshop yesterday organized by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC). A number of concerns were discussed, including construction permits, funding, and coordination with other utility and local government projects.… More

Consensus on broadband priorities, solutions emerges from CCBC conference

A series of workshops organized by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium drew about three dozen representatives from Internet service providers, local governments, economic development agencies and other companies and organizations interested in improving broadband access and infrastructure.

The first workshop brought together public works, planning and information technology managers from Salinas, Gonzales, Santa Cruz, Seaside, Watsonville, and Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. They reviewed the CCBC’s policy development and infrastructure inventory projects, and discussed how to make it easier to anticipate and meet future broadband needs.… More

Expanded CASF eligibility receives support, opposition, skepticism and suggestions

At last count, thirty-five [updated] organizations filed opening comments regarding the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) review of eligibility rules for grants and loans from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

The pro/con split was reasonably even, with 19 organizations generally supporting the idea of opening up CASF eligibility to all comers and 16 more or less opposed to it.

The CPUC’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates is voicing the strongest opposition:

DRA commentsThere is no guarantee that non-licensed entities will build more cost-effective projects, more last mile projects, and better middle mile projects, especially since such entities likely have no demonstrated expertise in telecommunications or in building broadband facilities.


Incumbents fighting CASF proposals

Five applications comprising three projects were submitted for California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) subsidies last month by competitive broadband service providers. All are under review by California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff. Incumbent carriers – AT&T and Charter Communications – have challenged all three projects (and four of the five applications).

Because of the way CASF rules are written, two of the projects – Race Communications in Kern County and WillitsOnline in Mendocino County – had to file two grant applications each.… More

Hint of daylight for CASF community broadband funding

30 October 2012 by Steve Blum
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Pretty much any organization would be eligible for broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) if the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) follows through on a decision made last week and if the California legislature agrees.

Right now, funding is limited to companies that sell telephone lines (very broadly defined) and hold either a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or are registered wireless telephone carriers.

Cities, independent Internet service providers, non-traditional telecoms ventures, community organizations and others can’t get funding directly.


$13 million CASF grant request for FTTP in Mojave and Boron

Mobile broadband availability in the Mojave-Boron area, as reported by carriers to the CPUC.Another proposal for project funding from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) surfaced over the weekend. Race Telecommunications is proposing to offer fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service to homes and businesses in the high desert towns of Mojave and Boron, and some surrounding areas.

They’re asking CASF for $6,229,864 for the Mojave segment of the project and $6,780,528 for the Boron piece. The segments are really two halves of the same project, but CASF procedures require separate applications for segments that are not in contiguous areas.


Satellite, DSL projects seek "unserved area" subsidies from CASF

Two DSL extensions and one satellite project are asking for a total of $651,622 in grant funding from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). The two DSL extensions, proposed by WillitsOnline LLC and its subsidiary company, Rural Broadband Now! LLC, would bring ADSL2+ to homes in the Westport and Boonville areas of Mendocino County. The proposals request $161,500 and $128,000 respectively. Satellite Internet provider ViaSat, Inc. is asking for $362,122 to reach about 700 homes in rural pockets of Monterey County.


Mobile broadband claims don't match truth in California

14 August 2012 by Steve Blum
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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has finished up its first round of mobile broadband field testing, and the results do not support the marketing claims of the carriers.

Sprint doesn’t hit the CPUC’s 6 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload benchmark for adequate service anywhere in California. Verizon does the best at 21% of the state. T-Mobile and AT&T manage 10% and 7% respectively. These real world results are dramatically different from what mobile carriers claim to provide.


High bar for middle mile projects seeking CASF funding

The purpose of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) is providing Internet service to homes and businesses. Key measures used to evaluate grant and loan applications include the number of households served and the number of new subscribers expected. As a result, funding middle mile projects through CASF is a challenge. In its recent decision revising the CASF program, the California Public Utilities Commission was adamant: it would not support “middle mile to nowhere” projects.

A middle mile project that spans under and unserved areas (as defined by the CPUC), and even served areas, is eligible for CASF funding, however it will be judged using the same criteria as a last mile project.