Consensus on broadband priorities, solutions emerges from CCBC conference

A series of workshops organized by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium drew about three dozen representatives from Internet service providers, local governments, economic development agencies and other companies and organizations interested in improving broadband access and infrastructure.

The first workshop brought together public works, planning and information technology managers from Salinas, Gonzales, Santa Cruz, Seaside, Watsonville, and Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. They reviewed the CCBC’s policy development and infrastructure inventory projects, and discussed how to make it easier to anticipate and meet future broadband needs.… More

Expanded CASF eligibility receives support, opposition, skepticism and suggestions

At last count, thirty-five [updated] organizations filed opening comments regarding the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) review of eligibility rules for grants and loans from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

The pro/con split was reasonably even, with 19 organizations generally supporting the idea of opening up CASF eligibility to all comers and 16 more or less opposed to it.

The CPUC’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates is voicing the strongest opposition:

DRA commentsThere is no guarantee that non-licensed entities will build more cost-effective projects, more last mile projects, and better middle mile projects, especially since such entities likely have no demonstrated expertise in telecommunications or in building broadband facilities.


Hint of daylight for CASF community broadband funding

30 October 2012 by Steve Blum
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Pretty much any organization would be eligible for broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) if the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) follows through on a decision made last week and if the California legislature agrees.

Right now, funding is limited to companies that sell telephone lines (very broadly defined) and hold either a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or are registered wireless telephone carriers.

Cities, independent Internet service providers, non-traditional telecoms ventures, community organizations and others can’t get funding directly.


California cities upsetting FCC commissioner Ajit Pai

“It was Milton Friedman who recognized years ago that the market provides a better way,” said Ajit Pai, who became an FCC commissioner in May as a Republican nominee. “Our deregulatory approach to wireless has been a success.”

Speaking to MobileCon attendees this afternoon, Pai focused on roadblocks that government can create for telecommunications development, contrasting the lightly regulated wireless sector with the more intrusive approach to wireline carriers taken by the FCC and the 50 states.… More

Chattanooga fiber success punctures Gigabit hype

11 September 2012 by Steve Blum
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In Chattanooga, Tennessee, electric power is provided by EPB, a municipal utility company that is also in the fiber optic business. EPB claims that anyone in its 600 square mile footprint can get a 1 Gigabit connection to a home or business. The cost is $350 per month.

Word is that thirty four subscribers, out of about 150,000 passed, have opted for 1 Gig. There’s been a lot of handwringing about this supposedly low take rate, with a lot of criticism directed at the price.


User-financed FTTP fails in a competitive market

Palo Alto user financed FTTP study

A user-financed, municipal fiber-to-the-premises broadband system would be a financial nightmare if launched into a market with mainstream competition, even if it’s subsidized and supported by a profitable city-owned utility.

That’s the finding of a study presented to the City of Palo Alto’s Utility Advisory Commission last night by Tellus Venture Associates. The report assessed the financial potential of user-financed municipal FTTP options, including upfront payments ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, substantial capital contributions by the City and ongoing subsidies of up to $2,000,000 per year.… More

Best Practices Highlight Wireless Broadband Feasibility Study for the City of Oakland

Download the Oakland Wireless Feasibility Study

Like nearly every government agency in California, the City of Oakland was faced with increasing demand for public services and a decreasing budget. An evaluation was needed of the potential for wireless technology to make municipal staff more efficient and allow them to stay in the field longer, and to provide Internet service to residents, either directly in their homes and businesses or indirectly through community anchor institutions. This evaluation needed to focus specifically on Oakland’s diverse population, needs and terrain.… More