Brown, Newsom clash over merits of obstruction

18 January 2017 by Steve Blum
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Zorro drew his sword. Paladin went for his gun. TJ Hooker whipped out his stick. When in peril, Californian heroes find salvation in a sure and deadly weapon. In our finest tradition, lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom faced the looming threat of Donald Trump’s wall, shouted not in my backyard and brandished the ultimate equaliser: the California Environmental Quality Act. According to the Los Angeles Times

“There’s something called CEQA in California — NEPA at the federal level,” Newsom said.


Enviro fast track for LA network, slow lane for lifeline okayed by governor

27 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Two more telecoms-related bills have been signed by governor Jerry Brown, and several more – of greater consequence – are hanging in the balance with four days to go before his veto deadline.

Without comment, Brown approved assembly bill 2570 and senate bill 1008. AB 2570 deals with restrictions on low income lifeline telephone (and broadband) subsidies and was watered down in the final days of the legislative session. As originally written by assemblyman Bill Quirk (D – Hayward), anyone who signs up for a subsidised service plan would be stuck with that carrier for a minimum of two months.… More

California legislature approves LA fast track wireless reviews, sorta

12 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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The way California law works now, if a permit application for a new cell tower is held up for more than five months because of reviews or challenges resulting from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), then the permit is deemed approved. Yep, regardless of whatever other issues are involved, once the shot clock expires, permission to build a new cell tower is automatically granted.

Suppose, though, that CEQA didn’t apply to…

  1. Antennas, including microwave dishes and arrays.

If red tape could carry data, California would lead the broadband world

4 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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A Shasta County broadband project is trapped in California’s web of environmental regulations, and it’s going to cost taxpayers $400,000 or more to pull it out. Not to mention that the rural phone company building the project has to stump up a few hundred thousand dollars of its own.

In 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a $3.1 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to the Happy Valley Telephone Company to pay for 60% of the cost of upgrading its network in and around the small Shasta County town of Olinda to VDSL2 technology.… More

Wireless permit shot clock primer for Californian planners

29 January 2016 by Steve Blum
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Sharp limits on local review of proposed cellular sites and other wireless facilities went into effect in California at the beginning of the year. It’s the result of a new law passed last year – assembly bill 57 – that put teeth into Federal Communications Commission shot clock rules that say cities and counties have to make a decision on permit applications within 90 days if it’s adding equipment to an existing site or 150 days if it’s completely new.… More

Blocking improvement hurts the environment too

27 December 2015 by Steve Blum
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I don’t know if anyone has ever specifically asked, but if I had to bet I’d guess that most Californians would rate traffic congestion as a bigger problem than Internet speeds. Occasionally waiting a few seconds while Netflix buffers is annoying. Spending an hour in traffic just to travel a handful of miles is soul destroying. It’s no coincidence that three Silicon Valley companies – Google, Apple and Tesla – are at the forefront of self-driving car development.… More

Accelerating technological change triggers regulatory reflex in Santa Cruz

12 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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San Francisco voters decisively rejected an attempt to clamp stiff limits on Airbnb and other online platforms that make it possible for people to rent out spare rooms and empty houses by the day. The measure was on the ballot in the first place “because the hotel industry is threatened”, said California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom. He was the keynote speaker at the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership’s state of the region conference in Santa Cruz.

It’s not only the hotel industry that’s feeling the heat.… More

Gigabit for San Jose could cost Google a gigabuck

23 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for the network diagrams (also included in the full report below)

The environmental review of Google’s possible fiber optic network in San Jose includes a surprisingly detailed description of the network, including diagrams of the local distribution system with breakouts by aerial and conduit routes. It’s a good primer for anyone interested in learning how a fiber to the home network is designed and built. According to the report…

Google Fiber’s FTTP infrastructure consists of four primary elements.


Google Fiber gets initial enviro okay in San Jose, could be model for California

22 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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I hope they survey me, Robin. The Batcave still has dial up.

Google Fiber is taking a harder look at San Jose. The city has prepared the initial environmental assessment, more than 400 pages long, which declares there will be no significant environmental impact if Google builds out a fiber to the home system there

The proposed Project includes the following components: The installation of approximately 2,300 miles of fiber optic cables (consisting of about 1,340 miles of below ground installation and 960 miles of aerial installation using existing utility poles); the installation of approximately ten Local Aggregation Sites either inside pre-fabricated communications shelters (fiber huts) or enclosed within existing commercial buildings; underground utility vaults and utility cabinets; and connections directly to customers.


California wireless shot clock might trump environmental reviews

16 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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A pretty simple decision.

The California Environmental Quality Act – CEQA – has evolved into a powerful tool for Nimbys and others who want to say no to infrastructure projects or other construction work. The seemingly endless possibilities for reviews, questions and appeals can stall projects for years, with no discernible benefit to either the environment or communities. Except for people who simply want to delay the process, in the hopes of killing projects drip by drip.… More