CWA union says AT&T redlines poor communities. California’s stats confirm the pattern, if not the extent

21 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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The Communications Workers of America (CWA) – the primary telecoms union in the U.S. – claims that AT&T is doing fiber upgrades in high income communities and redlining low income ones. A white paper published by CWA and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance claims…

The analysis of AT&T’s network reveals that the company is prioritizing network upgrades to wealthier areas, and leaving lower income communities with outdated technologies. Across the country, the median income for households with fiber available is 34 percent higher than in areas with DSL only – $60,969 compared to $45,500.


Time running out for CPUC to maximise federal bang for California broadband bucks

20 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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So far, the California Public Utilities Commission isn’t budging on its nonsensical plan to decide after the upcoming federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund reverse auction whether it will offer cash incentives to Internet service providers that might be bidding for broadband service and infrastructure subsidies for Californian communities.

Instead, it’s taking comments on a plan drafted by staff. Not comments from the general public though. Only those who file the necessary paperwork to become a “party” to the “proceeding” have a say.… More

T-Mobile might get extra time to deploy in California, but must add extra jobs and meet California test standards

19 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile billboard las vegas 6jan2020

T-Mobile will get another two years – until 2026 – to deploy 300 Mbps 5G service to 93% of Californians, if a draft decision published on Friday is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. But two other requested “modifications” to the CPUC’s conditions for approving T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint were rejected in the decision proposed by administrative law judge Karl Bemesderfer.

Assuming that CPUC commissioners vote in favor of it – a pretty good bet – it means that T-Mobile will have to add 1,000 net new jobs in California, instead of firing 1,000 higher paid employees and hiring 1,000 lower wage workers at a call center in Fresno County, as it appears to be doing.… More

California’s two biggest broadband companies may pass up federal RDOF subsidy auction, but others are in the hunt

16 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Money case 625

The Federal Communications Commission included 24 obviously Californian contenders in its final list of 386 qualified bidders for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) money (list is below). The announcement didn’t say which service tiers they’re eligible to bid in. There are four tiers, with higher service levels getting preference in the auction: 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload, 50 Mbps down/5 Mbps up, 100 Mbps down/20 Mbps up, 1 Gbps down/500 Mbps up (what the FCC considers to be gigabit service).… More

CPUC judge tells Frontier, consumer groups to stop squabbling and deal with the issues

15 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Both Frontier Communications and the “intervenors” who want a say in how its bankruptcy reorganisation plays out in California were scolded yesterday by a California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge (ALJ). The result might be a delay – maybe a week, maybe something else – in concluding the CPUC’s review of the reorganisation plan and the bankruptcy settlement.

In an emailed ruling, ALJ Peter Wercinski cancelled three days of hearings scheduled for the end of the month, saying that none of the parties involved have yet addressed the issues surrounding the bankruptcy that were identified by the commission

The Public Advocates Office stated in its October 12, 2020 response that “all material issues in the Scoping Memo remain at issue.”


California broadband project subsidy requests trimmed, but most might go to the back of the line

14 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Sunesys build freedom blvd 625Three revised broadband project grant applications to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) were posted over the past couple of days. Two fiber to the premise builds – Frontier Communications’ in Crescent City and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications’ in the Scott Road area of Lassen and Sierra counties – were trimmed by a few hundred thousand dollars. But another – Hunter Communication’s $290 million proposal in Mendocino County – was slashed to $158 million.

Even so, Hunter’s prospects are dismal.… More

CPUC adds broadband to subsidised lifeline phone service in California, if telcos and cable cooperate

9 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Forbes ag tech hartnell alisal demo 13jul2107

Low income Californians will be able to get free or low broadband service via the state’s lifeline program, following a unanimous vote yesterday by the California Public Utilities Commission. The plan approved by commissioners is pretty much the same as the draft that was proposed last month. The language in the final version was tightened up, but no substantive changes were made.

Subsidised lifeline broadband service has been available for some time from mobile carriers, who typically provide at no cost to the consumer.… More

California broadband subsidy proposals go into extra innings, with new rules and more competition

5 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Extra innings

The fate of the 54 pending proposals for broadband infrastructure grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) won’t be fully known until early next year, assuming the California Public Utilities Commission approves a draft rewrite of the program’s rules. The goal is to use CASF money to make Californian bids more competitive in the reverse auction for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) subsidies that’ll be run by the Federal Communications Commission later this month.… More

CPUC fumbles bid to win billions of federal broadband dollars for California

2 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Californian Internet service providers that try for broadband deployment subsidies in the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction later this month might be able to sweeten their bids by as much as 10% or 20%. Or they might not.

Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission published what might be described as a discussion draft of possible rules for using money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to backfill RDOF bids.… More

Frontier is the only wired broadband choice for 69,000 low income California households, if they can get it at all

1 October 2020 by Steve Blum
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Cpuc map frontier low income territory

A “collection of facts” about Frontier Communications’ history as a broadband and telephone service provider in California will serve as a primer for members of the public that want to weigh in on the California Public Utilities Commission’s review of the company’s bankruptcy settlement.

The report analyses the thousands of complaints about Frontier’s service and billing practices over the years, and the service quality problems it continues to have. In some respects, Frontier is doing better – it’s on track to have fewer complaints this year than last – but it has continuing issues with service outages and repair times.… More