Five applications comprising three projects were submitted for California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) subsidies last month by competitive broadband service providers. All are under review by California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff. Incumbent carriers – AT&T and Charter Communications – have challenged all three projects (and four of the five applications).
Right now, funding is limited to companies that sell telephone lines (very broadly defined) and hold either a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or are registered wireless telephone carriers.
Cities, independent Internet service providers, non-traditional telecoms ventures, community organizations and others can’t get funding directly.
“It was Milton Friedman who recognized years ago that the market provides a better way,” said Ajit Pai, who became an FCC commissioner in May as a Republican nominee. “Our deregulatory approach to wireless has been a success.”
Speaking to MobileCon attendees this afternoon, Pai focused on roadblocks that government can create for telecommunications development, contrasting the lightly regulated wireless sector with the more intrusive approach to wireline carriers taken by the FCC and the 50 states.… More
They’re asking CASF for $6,229,864 for the Mojave segment of the project and $6,780,528 for the Boron piece. The segments are really two halves of the same project, but CASF procedures require separate applications for segments that are not in contiguous areas.
Two DSL extensions and one satellite project are asking for a total of $651,622 in grant funding from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). The two DSL extensions, proposed by WillitsOnline LLC and its subsidiary company, Rural Broadband Now! LLC, would bring ADSL2+ to homes in the Westport and Boonville areas of Mendocino County. The proposals request $161,500 and $128,000 respectively. Satellite Internet provider ViaSat, Inc. is asking for $362,122 to reach about 700 homes in rural pockets of Monterey County.
In his signing message, the governor said “this bill encourages the continued growth of these and other innovative services that have become a hallmark of our state.”
The language of the bill is broad, covering any service that “enables an end user to send or receive a communication in existing Internet Protocol format, or any successor Internet Protocol format through a broadband connection, regardless of whether the communication is voice, data, or video.”
Governor Jerry Brown has until this Sunday, 30 September 2012, to approve or veto Senate Bill 1161, which would prohibit the California Public Utilities Commission or any other California state agency from regulating “Voice over Internet Protocol and Internet Protocol enabled services” until at least 2020.
The bill is controversial and the debate has been emotional. Advocates say it would clear the decks for continued high tech innovation in California, opponents say it would deregulate big cable and telephone companies and allow them to bully consumers and bury smaller competitors.
Sprint doesn’t hit the CPUC’s 6 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload benchmark for adequate service anywhere in California. Verizon does the best at 21% of the state. T-Mobile and AT&T manage 10% and 7% respectively. These real world results are dramatically different from what mobile carriers claim to provide.
The purpose of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) is providing Internet service to homes and businesses. Key measures used to evaluate grant and loan applications include the number of households served and the number of new subscribers expected. As a result, funding middle mile projects through CASF is a challenge. In its recent decision revising the CASF program, the California Public Utilities Commission was adamant: it would not support “middle mile to nowhere” projects.
You can download a summary of the current CASF grant program requirements here, and more information, including the CPUC’s latest map of under and unserved areas, is here.More