Frontier asks for CASF subsidy for Shasta County middle mile project

14 March 2016 by Steve Blum
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Right down the middle.

A grant application for a $546,000 subsidy from the California Advanced Services Fund was filed last week by Frontier Communications. It’s proposing to build a 12-mile fiber middle mile system in Shasta County, with the goal of injecting more bandwidth into existing DSL facilities that serve 1,200 homes in the Shingletown area…

These sites are currently fed with Ethernet over copper technology and the existing bandwidth is not capable of providing more than 3 Mbps download speeds and 768 Kbps upload speeds.


Middle mile plan plugs northern California gap but needs open access guarantee

19 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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Open access rules are only as strong as the weakest link.

Siskiyou Telephone Company is asking for a $5.8 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to plug a 22-mile fiber gap between the Siskiyou County towns of Happy Camp and Somes Bar. The middle mile project would boost broadband capacity in the region by providing the last link in a fiber chain that runs from Eureka on the coast to Yreka on the I-5 corridor, according to the publicly posted project summary.… More

Verizon won't sell all in California, appears to be clinging to juciest bits of its wireline networks

Clinging to California.

Competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) are companies that lease wholesale facilities from incumbents – typically lines from a central office to subscriber locations – and add their own elements, often backhaul, upgraded DSL equipment and voice services. That means that the quality and price of the service CLECs provide partly depends on the condition of incumbent networks.

The lobbying group that represents CLECs in Sacramento – CalTel – is happy to see Verizon sell its wireline networks to Frontier Communications

CalTel considers Verizon California to be an often uncooperative and indifferent-at- best wholesale supplier.


CPUC pushes open access to subsidised middle mile fiber

22 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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Access only by fiber or snowmobile.

Once again, the California Public Utilities Commission has set an expectation that publicly subsidised middle mile fiber should be available on a wholesale basis. To gain approval for a $1.8 million subsidy for a fiber to the home system in a remote area of Madera County, Ponderosa Telephone Company agreed to sell access to the fiber backhaul line that will feed it. According to a CPUC staff presentation to commissioners

Ponderosa has affirmed that wholesale access to the network will be provided in the project area.


Ponderosa broadband subsidy proposal ducks middle mile responsibilities

20 November 2013 by Steve Blum
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Quacks like a middle mile project.

A draft resolution approving a $1 million California Advanced Services Fund grant for a DSL upgrade in the small mountain community of Cressman in Fresno County was posted on the California Public Utilities Commission website yesterday. Proposed by Ponderosa Telephone Company, the project has middle mile fiber and a middle mile price tag, but doesn’t offer middle mile access.

The cost per household is $8,900, making it the second most costly project so far in the current round of CASF subsidy applications.… More

Eastern California lights up in July

“We have started and we will finish,” said Michael Ort, CEO of Praxis Associates, the company behind the Digital 395 project. “There have been people who have bet against us and that’s a great motivator. It’s going to happen.”

The ambitious, ARRA-funded network will connect Reno to Barstow, in the California desert east of Los Angeles, installing nearly 600 miles of fiber optic cable. Most of the path runs along U.S. 395, down the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada through towns like Carson City, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop and Ridgecrest.… More

Satellite, DSL projects seek "unserved area" subsidies from CASF

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.


High bar for middle mile projects seeking CASF funding

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.

A middle mile project that spans under and unserved areas (as defined by the CPUC), and even served areas, is eligible for CASF funding, however it will be judged using the same criteria as a last mile project.

CASF application requirements amended, first deadline approaching

This morning the California Public Utilities Commission released a new version of its CASF Application Checklist, cleaning up some discrepancies between it and the full text of the decision that made significant revisions to the program last month.

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.