California's broadband growth flat for six years

5 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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There are two ways to look at the latest Field Poll/California Emerging Technology Fund survey of household Internet penetration: the number of homes with someone online, at one level or another, jumped five points from 79% in 2015 to 84% in 2016, or broadband uptake has stalled in the Golden State for six years.

The case for the former is the topline gloss of the survey which has total broadband penetration at 84%, if you define broadband penetration as at least one person in the house with a smart phone in his or her pocket.… More

Broadband gaps to fill, but willingness to do so in northeastern California

26 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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A different way of looking at it.

Many homes will still be without broadband service in northeastern California, even after upgrades paid by the federal Connect America Fund (CAF-2) program are complete. That’s mostly because the census blocks deemed eligible for the subsidies by the Federal Communications Commission are limited – many thousands of unserved homes are outside of those areas – but also because the FCC doesn’t necessarily require that all homes in a given census block be served.… More

Frontier to offer broadband lifeline service in California, if allowed to buy Verizon systems

3 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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Lifeline’s reach, if the deal goes through.

Frontier Communications will implement an interim low income broadband lifeline program in California, if it gets regulatory approval to buy Verizon’s wireline systems. In an agreement reached with the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), Frontier is promising to offer a special package to its voice lifeline customers that comprises…

  • 13.99/month for the low-income broadband service (which is a new affordable product for the Verizon service area and an improved product in the Frontier legacy service areas), available only to Lifeline voice customers, existing or new customers.

Home broadband service grows in California but not overall Internet access

22 June 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click to download the full slide deck.

High speed home broadband service in California continues to grow, albeit slowly, but Internet use has flatlined among Californian adults. That’s one of the findings of a survey conducted by the Field Poll on behalf of the California Emerging Technology Fund.

According to the report, 87% of Californian homes were connected to the Internet in 2014 and 79% have high speed access – sorta. The survey classified smart phone access as “broadband”.… More

Public sector broadband customers are slow to change, even when it means fast broadband

22 April 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for a bigger version.

Schools and other big broadband users have been slow to sign up for service on Digital 395, a 500-plus mile fiber network that reaches from Reno, down the eastern Calfiornia side of the Sierra Nevada, along U.S. Highway 395, to Barstow. The slower than expected take up rate for anchor institutions is causing financial headaches for the system, according to Michael Ort, president of Praxis Associates, the lead company on the Digital 395 project.… 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

Subsidising second class broadband is a bad deal for all Californians

11 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Hotel WiFi service is usually good enough to deal with email, Facebook and airline check-ins. It’ll do the work you have to get done before morning – maybe even a Skype call. But it’s rarely robust enough to reliably watch videos or jam a deadline on virtualised enterprise services or relax with an online game. It’s not a workhorse you can depend on. It’s an amenity, no more able to support day to day business than the tiny pool and token workout room can handle Ironman base training – I know, I tried.… More

Public housing broadband should be cheaper and faster, CETF says

4 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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How much should Internet access in public housing projects cost, and how fast should it be? Those are the central two questions that the California Emerging Technology Fund is raising in regards to a proposed public housing broadband subsidy program, currently under consideration at the California Public Utilities Commission.

In comments filed on Tuesday, CETF is taking the position that public housing residents should be able to buy a minimum level of service for $10 per month, rather than the $20 as currently proposed, and that the minimum service speed residents can get during peak hours – 7 to 11 p.m.… More

Fast track broadband projects proposed in northern California

21 November 2014 by Steve Blum
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Almost 120,000 people – 50,000 households – in 14 California counties would be reached by broadband projects reviewed by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) at its rural forum in Redding last week.

The list of “projects with some current momentum” was developed with the cooperation, and in many cases active participation, of the regional broadband consortia that represent those areas. The plan going forward is to work with project backers, state and federal agencies and CETF to bundle financing together that will cover the typical 30% to 40% investment match requirements of the California Advanced Services Fund.… More

Heat maps point the way to California broadband gold

13 November 2014 by Steve Blum
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Maps and raw data showing broadband availability correlated to demographic and economic statistics are now available for 36 northern California counties, thanks to the California Emerging Technology Fund. It was developed for CETF by the City of Watsonville and Tellus Venture Associates, for a two day meeting in Redding that’s aimed at identifying a short list of feasible broadband infrastructure projects that can be paid for, in part, by the California Advanced Services Fund.

The center piece of the analysis is a heat map that shows areas that are eligible for CASF subsidies, color coded by housing density.… More