CPUC connects Salinas Valley to Silicon Valley with fast, cheap fiber

A 91-mile fiber optic middle network for the Salinas Valley, stretching from Santa Cruz in the north, to Watsonville, Moss Landing, Castroville, Salinas, Gonzales and Soledad in the south, is on the way. On a unanimous vote this morning, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a $10.6 million grant to Sunesys, LLC from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

“The key point for me was that typically that these projects only make a price commitment for two years”, said Commissioner Michel Florio.… More

Ponderosa takes trimmed broadband grant in the Sierra

9 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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While offering a token defence of its original request, the Ponderosa Telephone Company has effectively agreed to chop $373,000 from a $1 million proposal to build fiber middle mile connections and upgrade DSL service in the Sierra Nevada near Cressman in Fresno County. The company asked for a grant from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) for the project, but ran into opposition at the California Public Utilities Commission.

Commissioner Michel Florio put an alternative on the table, that would remove 5 homes – at a cost to CASF of $75,000 each – from the project and ask Ponderosa to come back with a more cost effective plan to serve them and their neighbors.… More

Online ride sharing companies adapting to Californian rules

If Lyft’s customers were this happy before there were rules, just think how they must feel now.

California’s pioneering attempt to regulate online ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber seems to be going as smoothly anyone could expect. The California Public Utilities Commission was briefed this morning on progress made since it adopted rules setting safety, training, insurance and other operational standards for transportation network companies, as it now calls them, including…

Obtain a permit from the [CPUC]…require criminal background checks for each driver, establish a driver training program, implement a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol, and require insurance coverage.


CPUC commissioner proposes modest haircut for Cressman

11 March 2014 by Steve Blum
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Update 13 March 2014: The CPUC delayed the vote on the Cressman project to 10 April 2014.

It doesn’t have to look good to look better.

Commissioner Michel Florio wants to trim five homes from a project proposed by Ponderosa Telephone Company in Fresno County, and save the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) $373,000. The project in and around the remote community of Cressman has been stalled for months, at Florio’s request, and now it’s clear why

The fiber optic extension from Lower Cressman to…Rush Creek will cost $621,700, or 36% of the total project costs.


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.


CPUC approves $1.8 million for "fiber to the vacation cabin"

19 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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No phone, no water, no power, no people. But wicked fast email.

“I’m a big supporter of fiber to the home, but fiber to the vacation cabin is a different thing”, said commissioner Michel Florio as he argued against giving a $1.8 million grant to the Ponderosa Telephone Company to build broadband infrastructure in a remote area of Madera County. His fellow commissioners did not agree, though, and the project was approved on a 4 to 1 vote.… More

If CPUC doesn't change broadband subsidy rules, results will still disappoint

9 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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Waiting for AT&T to light up Point Arena.

The towns of Pt. Arena and Gualala in Mendocino County, on California’s northern coast sparked debate at the California Public Utilities Commission last week. Commissioner Michel Florio used them as examples of communities that don’t have Internet service at all, as he questioned whether the CPUC should spend $1.8 million to build a fiber-to-the-home system for somewhere between 32 and 159 households in the Sierra National Forest, in Madera County.… More

CPUC debates fairness of giving big broadband subsidies to tiny communities

5 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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Is anyone home? (Click to download today’s staff presentation).

“It’s a little frustrating that this would be one of the last places you’d expect high quality internet service, yet you have communities like Point Arena and Gualala that don’t have service at all,” said commissioner Michel Florio this morning, as the California Public Utilities Commission discussed a proposal to give a $1.8 million subsidy to Ponderosa Telephone Company to build a fiber-to-the-home system in the remote Madera County communities of Beasore and Central Camp.… More

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

CPUC takes more time on broadband subsidy limits

I can explain that…

The California Public Utilities Commission is again bumping a decision on a particularly expensive broadband subsidy request for another two weeks. Commissioner Michel Florio pulled the $1.8 million grant proposal made by the Ponderosa Telephone Company for a Madera County fiber-to-the-home project from tomorrow’s commission agenda. As is customary practice, no reason was given, but it’s the second time this application has been put on hold.

It’s easy to spot what sets this California Advanced Services Fund application apart from the ten others that commissioners have approved without discussion in the past couple months: the amount of money they would be spending on each household in the proposed service area.… More