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

Stay rational and deliver on broadband promises if you want more

28 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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Not everyone feels a need for broadband.

There are two things rural communities in California have to do, to ensure broadband development efforts meet both current and future needs: focus the conversation on concrete, rational needs and demonstrate that existing resources are well and enthusiastically used.

That was the message from Eric Brown, CEO of the California Telehealth Network, at last week’sEastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium’s conference in Ridgecrest. He was one of many state and local broadband leaders – and users – who talked about the future of eastern California’s economy, now that the Digital 395 fiber route is fully lit and increasingly serving businesses, organisations and consumers from Barstow to Reno.… More

Eastern California businesses challenged by booming bandwidth demand

25 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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You got a job to do.

“Five of you can take out my Internet and I have 93 rooms”, Dan Spurgeon, general manager of the Marriott Springhill Suites in Ridgecrest said. That’s despite his recent 50 Mbps upgrade, which he will soon need to re-double. He was one of several local leaders speaking at the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium conference in Ridgecrest on Thursday.

Rapidly growing demand for more bandwidth – 40% year after year according to Spurgeon – is a major challenge for businesses and government agencies in eastern California.… More

Praxis picked to build and run FTTH network in California's Owens Valley

23 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for the full map and RFP.

“We’re in contract negotiations with Praxis now, and we hope to have a contract by February 10th”, Brandon Shults, the information services director for Inyo County, announced yesterday at the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium’s annual conference in Ridgecrest. He was talking about the 21st Century Obsidian Project, an ambitious effort to build a fiber to the home system down the western half of Inyo County – in other words, the Owens Valley.… More

Digital 395 fiber draws a last mile crowd in eastern California

Faster residential and business broadband service – including gigabit-class fiber-to-the-home service in some communities – is following in the wake of the Digital 395 project, an open access middle mile fiber link from Reno down through eastern California to Barstow. The California Public Utilities Commission just approved a $4.7 million grant proposed by Race Telecommunications to build FTTH systems in four small Mono County communities using the Digital 395 backbone.
The areas around Aspen Springs, Chalfant, Crowley Lake and Sunny Slopes should see upgraded service in the next couple of years.… More

Eastern Sierra consortium presents plans for building broadband out from Digital 395

Click for the full presentation

With the Digital 395 fiber optic backbone complete – running more than 500 miles from from Reno down the eastern side of California to Barstow – the focus in the region is on hooking up last mile broadband projects and extending middle connectivity to areas it doesn’t reach.

Julie Langou, the project manager for the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium, presented a plan for building out from the Digital 395 fiber route at the annual meeting of regional broadband consortia in Sacramento earlier this week.… More

$130 million available for broadband infrastructure grants in California

2 March 2014 by Steve Blum
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We found the money.

The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) will be topped up to the $315 million limit set by law by mid–2016, thanks to a hike in a surcharge added to phone bills that was approved last week by the California Public Utilities Commission. But much of it is already spent or earmarked, so the amount available for broadband infrastructure construction grants is likely to be $130 million, plus or minus a few million, the next time the CPUC accepts applications.… More

Growing a region's economy and protecting its quality of life with broadband

Economic development pros at CCBC workshop.

“The goal is to put in infrastructure that supports 10 Gbps,” explained Patrick Mulhearn at the Central Coast Broadband Consortium’s (CCBC) economic development workshop this morning. Mulhearn works for Santa Cruz County supervisor Zach Friend, who is leading the effort there to overhaul the the way county manages and regulates the construction of broadband infrastructure. He pointed to two key policies approved by supervisors…

  • Allow the installation of equipment within public right of ways, subject only to “time, place and manner” of access, through the County’s encroachment permit process.

Clearing the way for better infrastructure in California

8 November 2013 by Steve Blum
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It costs more here.

California’s infrastructure was “designed for 25 million people”, state treasurer Bill Lockyer told an opening breakout session at the California Economic Summit in Los Angeles. The problem, he said, is that California will have 50 millon people before there’s a fix in place.

The focus was on roads and water – publicly funded projects – but it’s equally true for infrastructure that’s supported by private capital, such as telecommunications and energy.

That conversation was mostly about ways to funnel more tax dollars towards road maintenance and construction but as the conference moved on, the cost side of the equation took center stage.… More

Cut Californian red tape to connect Californians

21 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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“California needs to stop pursuing its own regulatory agenda”, said Rob Volker, CEO of the California Broadband Cooperative, the organisation that will operate the Digital 395 middle mile system. Getting approvals from dozens of agency – federal, state, local, tribal – consumed two out of the three years that were scheduled and budgeted to complete the project, driving the price up by $25 million. $10 to $11 million of that extra cost will come out of the California Advanced Services Fund, which might otherwise might have gone towards new broadband infrastructure elsewhere in the state.… More