Quick changes coming for California broadband subsidy fund to plug covid-19 gaps

14 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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Forbes ag tech hartnell alisal demo 13jul2107

More money might soon be flowing from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to meet critical broadband service needs that have been given renewed attention because of the covid–19 emergency and the need for everyone to conduct business and educate kids, along with everything else that’s moved online. A request for ideas on how to make faster and better use of CASF in response to the emergency was sent out by the California Public Utilities Commission last month.… More

California’s mountain counties get failing broadband grades, urban areas top the report card

25 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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California broadband infrastructure report card map 24mar2020 625

The worst broadband infrastructure in California is, not surprisingly, found in mountain counties at the north end of the state. Trinity and Siskiyou counties both get “F” grades for broadband infrastructure, with a numerical score of dead zero. Sierra County likewise gets an “F”, with a numerical score of 0.03 that’s effectively zero. It is also the county with the highest percentage of population – 88% – without any access to wireline broadband service. It’s a serious problem for rural residents as business, education, health care and education move almost exclusively online during the covid–19 lockdown.… More

California’s broadband gaps affect millions as corona virus lockdown continues

23 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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San benito pole route 13apr2019

At least 1.5 million Californians – 4% of the state’s population – cannot get wireline broadband in their homes, as the second week of the corona virus lock down begins. That’s what the most recently published broadband availability reports filed with the California Public Utilities Commission show. Nearly twice that many – 2.8 million people, 8% of the population – don’t have access to primary wireline service that delivers 100 Mbps download/20 Mbps upload speeds, the minimum service level needed for in-home work, education, health care and entertainment.… More

Urban or rural, the need for broadband speed is the same for all in the Monterey Bay region

6 December 2018 by Steve Blum
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MBEP regional broadband speed survey results

To run a business, do homework and enjoy the benefits of our digital economy, broadband service that runs at 100 Mbps download/20 Mbps upload speeds is a necessity for everyone. That’s the conclusion of a year-long study by the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) and the Central Coast Broadband Consortium.

The report was presented last Friday at MBEP’s 2018 State of the Region event in Seaside. It was based on the work of the broadband leadership team recommended by participants at the 2017 conference and recruited by MBEP earlier this year.… More

Broadband subsidies should be spent on California's future

20 March 2017 by Steve Blum
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There’s more than $100 million left for broadband infrastructure subsidies in the California Advanced Services Fund and the California Public Utilities Commission is considering whether to set its own, statewide priorities for spending it. The first draft of a staff white paper that looks at objective methods of determining those priorities is open for comment, and I submitted three recommendations on behalf of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium on Friday…

  1. Be forward looking in assessing broadband development needs.


Monterey Bay broadband expert group offers conduit design advice

8 March 2017 by Steve Blum
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It’s one thing to say that empty telecoms conduit – shadow conduit – should be installed anytime a street is repaved or a utility trench is dug, but that begs a question: what kind of conduit, and how should it be designed?

To answer that question, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and the Central Coast Broadband Consortium convened a technical expert group that included senior public works engineers, Internet service providers, underground construction contractors and manufacturers.… More

Regional economy depends on infrastructure, particularly fiber and conduit

20 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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More broadband equals more work and fewer cars on the road.

“The most important infrastructure for the future is fast, reliable internet connectivity”, said Bud Colligan, co-chair of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) as he opened a day long conference on the state of the region’s economy. He said that incumbent telephone and cable companies have a big role to play in that, but “it is in our public interest to have a level playing field with robust competition”.… More

Santa Cruz to Soledad fiber optic network shifts course, makes progress

11 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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Work on an independent fiber route that will run from Santa Cruz to Watsonville, and then on through Salinas to Soledad is moving ahead. So far it’s just paperwork that’s getting done, but that’s the part of the project that takes the most time. Originally proposed in 2013 and awarded a $10.6 million subsidy (out of a total cost of $13.3 million) by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2014, the network owner, Sunesys, LLC, spent a year obtaining environmental clearances and is now negotiating construction permits with the cities and counties along the way.… More

Projects, policies and plans for broadband development on California's central coast

6 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for the presentation.

Broadband projects and policy are moving ahead on California’s central coast. That was my message to a meeting with elected officials from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, convened in June by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC).

The project with the biggest impact on the region is the middle mile link between Santa Cruz and Soledad, which is being built by Sunesys and largely paid for by the California Public Utilities Commission via the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).… More

A skeptical eye finds more broadband opportunities

5 April 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for the full presentation.

The California Public Utilities Commission collects a mountain of data from Internet service providers, and does a good job of sorting it out and publishing it in a very accessible way. But as a state regulatory agency, the CPUC can’t arbitrarily decide which claims it’ll believe and which it’ll discount. So it runs tests.

Ryan Dulin, the head of the CPUC division that regulates telecoms companies and manages broadband infrastructure subsidies through the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), demonstrated how that works for mobile broadband, running a speed test on his Verizon service during his presentation at a broadband conference for local government officials.… More