Charter's broadband is not the help poor people need, CPUC says

22 August 2017 by Steve Blum
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But check out what’s on pay per view.

Charter Communications lost its latest battle to keep free WiFi service out of public housing in California, but the defeat came long after the war ended in victory for cable companies and their lobbying front organisation in Sacramento. It means that 47 publicly subsidised communities, scattered across the state, get to keep grant money they received from the California Advanced Services Fund to install broadband facilities. Most of them had opted for WiFi systems that would offer slow connections at no cost to residents.… More

Cable tightens the screws on California public housing broadband

27 July 2017 by Steve Blum
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The California cable industry continues to gain ground in its perverse, and oxymoronic, fight to fence off public housing communities from government subsidies. Last year, cable industry lobbyists convinced a biddable senator to slip a big perk into a bill extending the life of a program that pays for broadband facilities – mostly equipment that’s used to provide free (and slow) WiFi access – in public housing. It was language that limited grants to only “unserved” properties, where residents aren’t offered market rate broadband service at all.… More

California public housing broadband subsidies extended

28 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Governor Jerry Brown signed senate bill 745 yesterday, extending the life of the California Advanced Services Fund’s (CASF) public housing broadband program.

It’s a good news/bad news sort of bill. On the one hand, instead of expiring at the end of this year and being re-absorbed into other CASF accounts, the money that hasn’t been spent yet will remain available through 2020. Originally, $20 million was set aside to subsidise broadband facilities (but not the service itself) in public housing communities, and $5 million was allocated to pay for broadband marketing and digital literacy efforts aimed at convincing residents to get online.… More

Battle for broadband in California's public housing heats up

29 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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Would you like some pay-per-view with that?

The cable industry is continuing its assault on low cost broadband designed for people who live in publicly subsidised housing. Cox Communications is the latest company to ask the California Public Utilities Commission to nullify broadband improvement grants given to public housing operators in their territory. The cable companies object because they also sell broadband service, along with very profitable television packages, to some of these communities.

The problem, though, is that residents aren’t subscribing to those services.… More

Cable preps to defend its monopoly grip on California's poor in court

28 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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What fun would it be if they had a choice?

Charter Communications is doubling down on the public tantrum it’s throwing over broadband access in public housing. The California Public Utilities Commission runs a program that pays for broadband facilities – but not the service itself – in publicly subsidised communities. The program was created by the legislature three years ago, and was the result of joint efforts by rural and urban interests – $90 million was added to the California Advanced Services Fund, with a net $25 million going toward public housing broadband and the rest into broadband infrastructure projects.… More

California cable lobby pushes "the bounds of acceptable behavior"

10 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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Not the way it’s done.

A last minute, behind-the-scenes attempt by the California Cable and Telecommunications Association (CCTA) – the lobbying front for the cable industry in Sacramento – to derail affordable broadband service in public housing failed yesterday. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 4 to 1 to approve grants for low cost or free broadband facilities in a dozen public housing communities where cable companies offer far more expensive service. Comcast and Charter Communications had earlier protested the grant applications.… More

Charter cries for exclusive rights in public housing

29 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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Charter Communications still doesn’t get it. California law does not grant it ownership of public housing residents. But boiled down, that’s what it’s telling the California Public Utilities Commission.

Three years ago, the California legislature passed a bill that set aside $20 million to pay for installing broadband facilities in public housing properties. Governor Brown signed it into law. And once you trim away all the bureaucratese about defining what, exactly, a public housing operator is, it’s a very simple bill.… More

Faster federal broadband specs proposed for public housing

25 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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Honest, the label on the box says it’ll do a gozangabit!

The federal housing and urban development department is floating new rules for publicly subsidised housing – but not homes bought with FHA loans or other federal loan guarantees – that would require installation of broadband infrastructure in new or remodelled multi-dwelling units. It’s a good new/bad news rule: it uses the FCC’s definition of high speed broadband, but leaves plenty of room for implementation mischief…

HUD is proposing to define broadband infrastructure as cables, fiber optics, wiring, or other permanent infrastructure, including wireless infrastructure, as long as the installation results in broadband infrastructure in each dwelling unit meeting the definition created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which currently is 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download, 3 Mbps upload.


Comcast and Charter try to block low cost broadband in California public housing

9 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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A dozen grants to fund installation of broadband facilities in public housing projects in California will be in front of the California Public Utilities Commission next month. The twelve proposals have been stalled, some more than a year, because Charter and Comcast tried to kill the grants in order to protect what little business they have in those low income communities. According to the draft CPUC resolution

Charter and Comcast have provided documentation that services are available to 100 percent of residents in these challenged properties.


Public housing gets broadband love from federal government

16 July 2015 by Steve Blum
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Fresno and Los Angeles made the list of 27 cities and one tribal nation that will be getting federal help in extending broadband service to more public housing residents. The ConnectHome program was announced yesterday by U.S. president Barack Obama. The press release was a hodge podge of details, but it seems to boil down to…

  • Some of the communities – but not LA or Fresno – will get discounted, or even free, Internet access in public housing projects from ISPs, including Suddenlink, Cox, CenturyLink and Google Fiber.