Saving the environment doesn’t have to mean choking off local infrastructure and economic growth

1 March 2015 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

You can protect the coast without littering it with red tape.

To keep Santa Cruz’s tech economy growing, basic infrastructure has to get better. Broadband is a big part of it, but so is housing, transportation and office space. A day long conference in Seaside in January – the kick-off event for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership – brought business and government leaders together from Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties to talk about creating the right conditions for an entrepreneurial culture to grow.… More

Central coast leaders dig into broadband

14 February 2015 by Steve Blum
, , ,

There’s one big similarity between water and broadband access on California’s central coast: there’s a lot of it close at hand but high cost and low quality make it nearly unusable. That’s how I set up a discussion about broadband at the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) conference in Seaside a couple weeks ago.

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium has mapped hundreds of miles of fiber optic lines throughout the region. But most of it, like water in the Pacific Ocean, is too expensive for everyday use.… More

Local fiber maps unlock opportunities on California's central coast

6 November 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

A lot of fiber is installed along California’s central coast. But most of it is locked up by incumbent telephone and cable companies, and not available to local businesses and independent Internet service providers. The Central Coast Broadband Consortium, with a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission via the California Advanced Services Fund, mapped both long haul and local last mile fiber in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties.

Most of the locally accessible fiber is owned by AT&T, Comcast and Charter Communications.… More

CPUC approves broadband priorities developed by Central Coast Broadband Consortium

5 July 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

Click for the big maps.

Twelve central coast communities have been designated as priority areas for broadband infrastructure development by the California Public Utilities Commission. In a unanimous vote on Thursday, 26 June 2014, commissioners endorsed the list presented in March by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, following a month-long workshop on
The Pleasure Point/Twin Lakes neighborhood down coast from the City of Santa Cruz, the Brookdale area in the mountains and the town of Soquel made the list, along with Aromas, two rural areas outside of Hollister and six Salinas Valley communities: Castroville, Chualar, Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City.… More

Constructive ideas (mostly) offered for Californian broadband subsidy plan

14 June 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

Except for a couple of not so veiled threats of legal action, the comments submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission regarding a new plan to re-start the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program were generally positive, with few specific recommendations for changes. The nastiness came from the cable industry’s lobbyists in Sacramento – the California Cable and Telecommunications Association – and Verizon (more on that tomorrow).

Comments from other incumbent telephone companies – with the glaring exception of AT&T, which didn’t submit any – were more nuanced.… More

Good intentions shouldn't be good enough to preempt Californian broadband projects

11 June 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Yeah. Right.

A proposal to start taking applications again for broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) is generating a healthy debate. Today was the deadline to submit opening comments to the California Public Utilities Commission on new draft rules and a schedule for CASF grant and loan applicants. The responses are still coming in, but so far the CPUC’s office of ratepayer advocates and one telephone company, Frontier, have submitted comments – more on them later – as have several regional broadband consortia.… More

The more broadband, the more interest in more broadband

Click to download the presentation.

One of the thousand or so communities, companies, organisations and private individuals that’s expressed interest in participating in the FCC’s rural broadband experiment program is the City of Marina, on Monterey Bay, which is where I live and work, at least when I’m not traveling somewhere.

It came out of a conversation I had with the city’s economic development coordinator, Marilyn Lidyoff, and a member of the economic development commission, Steve Emerson, at a local regional economic development conference back in March.… More

Google offers a better benchmark for Santa Cruz broadband policy

The color scheme is optional.

Santa Cruz County is moving closer to slashing red tape for broadband projects to the level urged by Google Fiber, in its talks with other cities in California and elsewhere in the U.S. That’s not to say that Google has any interest in putting a fiber system anywhere on California’s central coast. Nor that new broadband infrastructure rules are a done deal here. Not by a long shot. But it’s to the point where it’s more useful to compare Santa Cruz County to Google’s fast track than to the normal course of broadband construction in California.… More

Trimmed Salinas Valley broadband project heads back to CPUC

Building jobs and a better economy.

A 91-mile fiber optic middle mile network reaching from Santa Cruz deep into the Salinas Valley is back on track, after discussions between the California Public Utilities Commission and Sunesys, LLC – the company applying for the project – led to a $388,000 cut in proposed grant funding.

A revised draft resolution, offered as an alternative by CPUC president Michael Peevey, was posted this afternoon and is scheduled to be considered by commissioners on Thursday.… More

Gonzales mayor makes the case for Salinas Valley broadband

Maria Orosco addresses the CPUC yesterday.

Gonzales mayor Maria Orosco and city manager Rene Mendez spoke on behalf of their community, the Salinas Valley and the entire central coast region yesterday, as they urged the California Public Utilities Commission to approve an $11 million grant to build a fiber optic broadband backbone system.

Mayor Orosco spoke to the Salinas Valley’s need for twenty-first century broadband infrastructure and the benefits it would bring…

Good morning, my name is Maria Orosco, mayor of the City of Gonzales.