California muni broadband bill lands on governor Brown’s desk

8 September 2018 by Steve Blum
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Net neutrality isn’t the only broadband issue awaiting a decision from California governor Jerry Brown. As the legislative session wound down to a close last week, the California senate and then the assembly approved assembly bill 1999 more or less on party lines – democrats mostly voted aye, republicans no.

AB 1999 explicitly sets out in law what has been the practice and, to the extent its been challenged, the long standing precedent that Californian cities and some kinds of special districts can build broadband systems and offer service, whether or not it’s in competition with cable and telco monopolies.… More

California legislature to decide privacy, Internet commerce bills

26 August 2018 by Steve Blum
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Consumer privacy, police surveillance, online retailing, bots and social media were all targets of bills introduced this year in the California legislature. One major bill already passed, a couple are dead and the rest are queued up for a decision this week, as lawmakers prepare to finish up the 2018 session on Friday.

Assembly bill 375 established strict consumer data privacy rules. It was signed into law by the governor earlier this year. It’s being tweaked, though.… More

With a week left, California muni broadband bill still on legislature’s to do list

25 August 2018 by Steve Blum
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A bill that allows more types of local agencies to get into the broadband business, and requires such municipal broadband providers to abide by network neutrality principles, awaits a decision by the California senate. Assembly bill 1999, authored by assemblyman Ed Chau (D – Los Angeles), would remove a restriction that makes it all but impossible for community service districts to get into the broadband business.

It also explicitly allows other types of local agencies, such as county service areas and enhanced infrastructure financing districts (EIFDs), to provide broadband services.… More

No consensus on public property lease rates, but FCC committee moves ahead anyway

24 August 2018 by Steve Blum
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Telecoms companies and local government representatives didn’t agree on how lease rates for assets such as street light poles should be set, but at least they were able to articulately lay out their positions and identify what they do agree on. The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband deployment advisory committee received a draft report last month that looked at how fees and rental rates are set. It was produced by a sub committee that had two members from local agencies, plus a municipal lobbyist and a state government representative.… More

Fight over federal muni broadband bill highlights preemption’s dangers

25 July 2018 by Steve Blum
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Although republicans and democrats often agree that broadband service, particularly in rural areas, needs upgrading, they can’t seem to agree on what constitutes improvement. A hearing earlier this month in Washington D.C. brought this conceptual digital divide into focus.

Silicon Vally representative Anna Eschoo (D – Santa Clara) introduced a bill in Januaryhouse resolution 4818 – that would preempt state-level restrictions on municipal broadband. It was discussed – not formally considered, just discussed – during a general broadband hearing held by a house of representatives sub-committee on communications and technology.… More

California legislature says yes to broadband, online privacy bills

4 June 2018 by Steve Blum
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With Friday’s deadline behind us, we know which bills are getting serious consideration in the California legislature. Any bill that didn’t make it through a full floor vote and get sent from one house to the other is now dead (with the caveat that death is never final so long as the California legislature is still in session).

Short answer: all the bills I’m still following and, for the most part, blogging about live on…

Muni broadband

  • Assembly bill 1999 – specifically authorises community service districts and other agencies to offer broadband services, and requires all muni broadband systems to abide by network neutrality rules.

Teetering Tacoma muni cable system finds five potential partners

25 May 2018 by Steve Blum
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Five companies are bidding to partner up with the City of Tacoma to help run its municipal cable system, which offers Internet and video services. The city issued a request for information and qualifications in March, and received five responses, according to a story by Candice Ruud in the Tacoma News Tribune (h/t to the BSL List for the pointer)…

One of the parties that’s interested in being a part of the future of Click Cable TV is Wave Broadband, the same company whose 2015 offer to lease Click for 40 years sparked a local political movement to keep the municipally-owned network in public hands…

Wave responded to the call and said it seeks long-term use of the Click network in exchange for compensating [the City of Tacoma’s municipal utility operation] with leasing fees, network upgrades and performance guarantees.


Muni broadband virtue should be a choice, not a chastity belt

24 May 2018 by Steve Blum
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Well intentioned or not, assembly bill 1999 could work against efforts to preserve network neutrality, and prevent municipal broadband systems in California from competing against big, monopoly-model Internet service providers.

Authored by assemblyman Ed Chau (D – Monterey Park) , AB 1999 was approved by the California assembly and awaits action in the senate. It would: 1. explicitly allow more types of local agencies – e.g. county service areas, community service districts, enhanced infrastructure financing districts – to get into the broadband business, and 2.… More

FCC appoints a pack of dingos to guard the broadband baby

22 May 2018 by Steve Blum
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The Federal Communications Commission named a fifteen member “working group” on Friday, and charged it with the “harmonisation” of local and state broadband policies developed by its Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC).

Only five of the fifteen members come from local or state agencies.

Nearly all of the rest are telecoms industry lobbyists, including capos from AT&T and Comcast. The working group’s chair, Elizabeth Bowles, is “primarily responsible for directing the legislative strategy for WISPA, the trade association for the fixed wireless broadband industry”, according to her LinkedIn profile.… More

Telecom industry's broadband policy advice takes shape at FCC

26 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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The Federal Communication Commission’s industry-centric broadband deployment advisory committee (BDAC) met again yesterday. I didn’t watch the day-long webcast, but I did read through the transcript. It was here, but will probably be gone from the FCC’s website by the time you read this. The version I downloaded is here.

The group signed off on tweaks to a proposed one touch make ready policy. If adopted by the FCC, it would create a fast track process for new broadband infrastructure to be attached to existing utility poles.… More