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

Slow broadband a drag on Seattle mayor's re-election campaign

I’ll have what she’s having.

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn is running for re-election and the editorial page of the Seattle Times, which has never particularly cared for him, is homing in on his failure to build fiber to every home and business in the city…

With a campaign pledge of broadband Internet for all, Mike McGinn promised big, delivered small, and hopes voters won’t notice the difference.

KUOW-FM, Seattle’s University of Washington-owned NPR powerhouse, reached a similar conclusion, although in a better researched and more nuanced way

When Mike McGinn ran for mayor in 2009, he campaigned on the promise of high-speed internet for all of Seattle.


Primarily is primarily the problem with California broadband subsidies

8 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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I did not have legislative relations with Comcast either.

The fate of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) might come down to a single word. Last week, when an assembly committee killed senate bill 740, which that would have added money to the fund and expanded the list of eligible applicants, the heat of the debate focused on a single weasel word…

These requirements shall include that projects under this paragraph primarily provide last-mile broadband access to households that are unserved by an existing facilities-based broadband provider.


Cable lobby shovels California broadband subsidies to a halt

1 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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A good day’s work for California cable lobbyists.

With utter disregard for truth and common sense, lobbyists from Comcast and the California cable industry successfully confused enough assembly members to halt senate bill 740 in its tracks. SB 740 would have added $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and allowed independent Internet service providers and public agencies to apply for broadband infrastructure grants under some circumstances.

A long line of supporters – including, remarkably enough, AT&T – endorsed the compromise language negotiated last week.… More