Golden Bear fiber plan not sturdy enough to survive incumbent challenges

5 March 2014 by Steve Blum
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The two thousand mile, $120+ million Golden Bear middle mile fiber network is officially dead. Snaking through the canyons and river valleys of far northern California, the project was touted as a way of bringing fast, inexpensive backbone connectivity to areas far removed from bandwidth-rich regions to the south.

Effectively, backers were asking for 100% grant funding from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Nominally, the limit is somewhere between 60% and 70%, depending on the level of broadband service, if any, that is available.… 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

CPUC delays expanding broadband subsidy eligibility

5 February 2014 by Steve Blum
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Picker takes a seat.

The California Public Utilities Commission put off consideration of new rules governing the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) today. The vote on how to expand eligibility for CASF grants and loans was put off until 27 February 2014. No reason was given for the delay, but it’s likely due – at least in part – to comments filed last week by The Utility Reform Network (TURN) that proposed allowing more flexible requirements for local governments that might want to apply for broadband construction subsidies.… 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

Golden Bear versus everyone else in Californian broadband subsidy competition

10 November 2013 by Steve Blum
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Pondering options as the game dwindles away.

Counting just the money that’ll be available over the next couple of years, there’s about $107 million left in the CASF grant kitty, give or take. The remaining grant applications total $178 million, making it likely that some will be denied or drastically reduced. One proposal – the Golden Bear middle mile project in the northern end of the state – accounts for $119 million of that, which leads to three possible scenarios…

  • Most or all of the fourteen other pending projects, totalling $59 million, will be funded, likely leaving too little for Golden Bear to be viable.

California broadband grant requests inch toward decisions

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff have started drafting resolutions for funding at least some of the broadband infrastructure proposals submitted last February for subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

The fact that staff is putting the necessary paperwork together – preliminary environmental assessments and public safety impact, for example – doesn’t mean that a project will rate highly enough to be recommended, but it does mean that the preliminary task of determining whether a project is eligible for CASF money is complete, or nearly so.… More