California cable lobby wants neutral regulation and it should have it

30 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Equally attached to unequal laws.

When the California Public Utilities Commission allowed mobile phone carriers the same freedom to install wireless equipment on utility poles that wireline companies enjoy, it encouraged cable and telcos to ask for the same deal. It inferred that the path to approval would be open if they didn’t get stroppy about fine print that was written when copper was all there was. Like pole attachment rates that assume a thin cable and not a fat box full of radio gear.… More

California cable lobby pushes "the bounds of acceptable behavior"

10 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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Not the way it’s done.

A last minute, behind-the-scenes attempt by the California Cable and Telecommunications Association (CCTA) – the lobbying front for the cable industry in Sacramento – to derail affordable broadband service in public housing failed yesterday. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 4 to 1 to approve grants for low cost or free broadband facilities in a dozen public housing communities where cable companies offer far more expensive service. Comcast and Charter Communications had earlier protested the grant applications.… More

AT&T, cable lobbyists gut California broadband subsidies

20 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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Broadband infrastructure subsidies are off the table in Sacramento, thanks to a coordinated campaign by AT&T staff lobbyists and the cable industry’s political front organisation, the California Cable and Telecommunications Association (CCTA). Assembly bill 1758 was pulled by its author, assemblyman Mark Stone (D – Santa Cruz) after it became clear that the California assembly’s utilities and commerce committee was going to spike it at its meeting this afternoon.

Originally, AB 1758 would have put $150 million into the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) broadband construction subsidy account, and another $200 million in a range of broadband-related programs, including service for hospitals, facilities in public housing, digital literacy and marketing efforts and regional consortia.… More

Comcast captures control in California with Time-Warner deal

15 February 2014 by Steve Blum
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Time-Warner hands LA to Comcast. Click for larger (but no prettier) image.

Comcast’s tentative deal to buy Time-Warner’s cable systems will have a big impact on the politics of broadband in California, to the benefit of incumbents and the detriment of independent competitors.

Time-Warner is the dominant cable operator in the huge Los Angeles market, while Comcast controls the San Francisco Bay Area, along with Sacramento and Fresno. A buyout would give Comcast control of four of the five major media markets in the state – Cox has most of San Diego, and is a distant number two in the LA area.… More

CPUC approves broadband testing, mapping money

23 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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Good for another year.

The California Public Utilities Commission waved through next year’s budget for the California Advanced Services Fund, voting unanimous approval at last week’s meeting.

The plan includes a steep jump in administrative costs, without giving much detail on the reason for the increase. The CPUC’s division of ratepayer advocates asked for more transparency after the first draft of the budget resolution was released. There wasn’t much more detail about overhead costs in the approved version, though.… More

Sunday morning coming down in Sacramento

10 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Jesse knew a lot about the cleanest dirty shirt.

Money is the mother’s milk of politics.
Jesse Unruh, most powerful assembly speaker in California history

Money, the kind that pays for increasingly expensive California legislative campaigns, is what gives Sacramento lobbyists power when ideas and ideals run out of steam. Voters remember the big and simple issues – say, whether to raise taxes or give hybrid cars a free pass in diamond lanes – but it’s lobbyists who meticulously track every vote on the small and complex bills that comprise the daily toil at the state capitol.… More

Latest proposed changes to California broadband subsidies a net gain, but not as much as hoped

Take the money and run.

There’s good news, good news and bad news in the latest version of senate bill 740, which renews and rewrites the rules for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Under a deal cut yesterday, Comcast and a lobbying organisation for the cable industry in California said they would drop their opposition to the bill in exchange for tougher restrictions on how broadband subsidy funds can be spent.

It’s good news that an extra $90 million is going into CASF.… More

Cable lobby edits California broadband subsidy bill, but at least it's moving forward again

7 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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You can’t have my precious.

A last minute deal was struck with the California Cable Television Association and Comcast to get their support for a bill that would add $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and allow independent ISPs and cities to apply for infrastructure subsidies under very tight restrictions.

Senate bill 740 stalled in an assembly committee last month after cable lobbyists carpet bombed members with phony fears about overbuilding and false claims about how many Californians lack broadband service, and how much of it they need.… More

Comcast loves publicly subsidised overbuilds, when it's doing the building

6 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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You dare to overbuild me?

“Overbuilding” has been overused in Sacramento in recent weeks, with lobbyists from Comcast and the cable industry using the term to batter California assembly members into silence during a vote to extend a key broadband subsidy fund.

Casting themselves as victims of unfair, taxpayer-subsidised competition, the lobbyists claimed California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) money was paying to build new broadband systems on top of existing ones.

Not true.

Comcast cannot be overbuilt by any publicly funded project unless it chooses to be.… More

California lawmakers have a chance to reconsider cable lobby's big lie

1 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Even Comcast doesn’t believe 1.5 Mbps is enough.

The effort to resurrect a proposal to add $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and allow independent ISPs and cities to apply for grants is gathering steam. The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) has published a white paper that’s aimed at debunking one of the more outrageous bits of misinformation spread by cable lobbyists as they derailed the bill in an assembly committee last month.… More