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

Mono County homes line up for gigabit service

Not well served. Yet.

Four small communities in southern Mono County could be getting gigabit class fiber to the home service by the end of 2015. The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to consider a resolution to spend $4.7 million on an FTTH project for the Aspen Springs, Chalfant, Crowley Lake and Sunny Slopes areas at its 26 June 2014 meeting.
The project was proposed last year by Race Telecommunications, one of five the company submitted in the current round of applications to the California Advanced Services Fund.… 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

CPUC finds a legal way to treat ISPs as regulated phone companies

CPUC sends a Schat across incumbents’ bow.

Buried in last week’s California Public Utilities Commission consent agenda was a resolution granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to Schat Communications, an independent Internet servicer provider based in Bishop, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. Schat applied for the CPCN in order to qualify for California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grants for two proposed last mile projects in Mono and Inyo Counties.… More

Linux kernels find fertile ground in Inyo County

5 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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Opening eyes to open source.

Inyo County, in remote eastern California, might be the first in the country where every student, from kindergartener to high school senior, is given a personal computing device in the public schools.

Terry McAteer, Inyo County superintendent of schools, made that claim last month at a forum organised by the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium. Every student in the county’s school system has an Acer Travelmate, a $320 netbook-class machine.… More

Sheer tenacity primes Boron FTTH for California broadband subsidy

Boron upgrades from twenty mules to a gigabit.

On its fourth try, Race Telecommunications seems set to get public grant backing to build a fiber-to-the-home system in the small Mojave desert town of Boron. California Public Utilities Commission staff have released a draft resolution that, if approved by commissioners, would spend up to $3.4 million from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to pay 60% of the cost of building a fiber optic network to serve about 900 customers in the Boron area, plus cover the cost of any state or federal income tax on the grant.… More

Policy initiatives maximise benefit of broadband trends

Progressive broadband policy rates an A, nimbys fail.

I was one of the speakers at this week’s Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium annual forum in Bishop, California. My presentation built on a talk I gave earlier this year at the Urban Land Institute’s spring meeting in San Diego.

Then, I spoke about five broadband trends that are shaping communities: the growing value of conduit, the growth of competition at the local level, the role of local government in building middle mile facilities, the coming explosion in wireless capacity and the way broadband access is changing life and work styles.… More