Broadband subsidies collide in the California desert

23 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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Up, down, who cares? This is as fast as I go.

The 3,800 homes in the Anza area of Riverside County are a big step closer to getting fiber to the home broadband service from the local electric cooperative. The California Public Utilities Commission published a draft decision on Friday giving the Anza Electric Cooperative a $2.7 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to pay for 60% of the project.

The project is remarkable for two reasons.… More

Plenty of broadband money for some in rural California, if there's cooperation

4 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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Worlds apart.

If the two primary California and federal broadband subsidy programs – the California Advanced Services Fund and the FCC’s Connect America Fund – were coordinated, many rural areas could see significant infrastructure upgrades. Maybe even fiber to the home systems, or at least fiber to the node. As it is, though, those two programs run completely separately, even to the point of having such disparate service standards that broadband systems built for one wouldn’t necessarily meet the requirements of the other.… More

Wireless local loop is looking faster, says AT&T

2 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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Might work fine here.

AT&T is starting to position its wireless substitute for wireline broadband service as able to meet the Federal Communication Commission’s 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload standard. According to a story in FierceWireless

AT&T said it is currently testing fixed wireless local loop (WLL) technology in select areas of the country with local residents who want to try the service, including in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Virginia, and is seeing speeds of around 15 to 25 Mbps.


AT&T abandons copper to spend rural broadband subsidies on wireless

31 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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As it accepted $2.6 billion in federal subsidies over six years to improve rural broadband service, AT&T told the Federal Communications Commission that it’ll spend the money on building out its wireless infrastructure, rather than upgrade decaying copper networks. Consistent with the story it told the FCC during its successful bid to acquire DirecTv, AT&T called out plans to rely on what it previously labeled as wireless local loop technology to deliver broadband service to rural customers in areas that are eligible for Connect America Fund (CAF) money…

We anticipate meeting our CAF Phase II obligations through a mix of network technologies, including through the deployment of advanced wireless technologies on new wireless towers that will be constructed in previously unserved areas.


Big telcos claim half a billion dollars for rural California broadband

28 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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The two biggest incumbent telephone companies in California will be taking federal subsidies to upgrade rural broadband service. Yesterday was the deadline for AT&T and Verizon to claim the money, and both more or less said yes.

AT&T’s acceptance was unambiguous. It’s taking the Federal Communication Commission’s offer of $60 million a year in Connect America Fund (CAF) subsidies to boost Internet service speeds to 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up for 106,000 homes and businesses in rural California.… More

Verizon turns its back on rural broadband subsidies

27 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Verizon won’t be taking part in the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund program, aimed at improving broadband service in rural areas. Today was the deadline for major telcos to notify the FCC that they were going to participate, and Verizon’s answer was no. The company did put a marker down on money allocated to California and Texas, though, on behalf of Frontier Communications, which is in the process of buying Verizon’s wireline systems in those states.… More

AT&T says yes to FCC rural broadband subsidies in most states, including California

27 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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AT&T picked up most of the subsidy money offered by the Federal Communications Commission to upgrade rural broadband service, including $60 million a year for six years in California. In total, AT&T accepted $428 million in annual payments, and turned down $66 million. Three states were left off of AT&T’s list: Missouri, Nevada and Oklahoma. It’s been a bad day for Oklahoma; CenturyLink likewise bypassed it. So far, no word on what Verizon is doing.

CenturyLink accepts federal broadband subsidies, but not in California

27 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Today is the deadline for major telcos to say whether or not they’re accepting Connect America Fund subsidies from the Federal Communications Commission to upgrade rural broadband service.

So far, no word on whether AT&T and Verizon have accepted any of the money, but CenturyLink has picked up most of the half billion dollars per year (per six years) it was offered. However, it turned some of the money down, including $55K per year for 45 homes in Modoc County, in the far northeast corner of California.… More

Billions of dollars at stake this week for rural broadband upgrades

25 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Ready for an upgrade?

AT&T and Verizon have until Thursday to claim billions of dollars in subsidies to upgrade broadband in rural areas of the U.S., including hundreds of millions to improve service in California.

The Federal Communications Commission gives operating subsidies to telephone companies that provide broadband service in rural and/or remote areas, as a part of its universal service mandate. In the current round – Phase 2 – of the Connect America Fund (CAF) program, the FCC is offering large telephone companies a right of first refusal to accept these funds, on a state by state basis.… More

Frontier picks up a federal funding option but might miss even more in California

17 June 2015 by Steve Blum
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Frontier has claimed the blue and brown areas, but Verizon could leave the yellow areas behind. Click for a closer look.

Frontier Communications is the first of the larger U.S. telephone companies to take up the Federal Communications Commission’s offer of several years of subsidies in exchange for upgrading broadband infrastructure in rural areas to a minimum service level of 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds.

The FCC announced yesterday that Frontier had said yes to its right of first refusal on money from the second phase of the Connect America Fund program.… More