Richmond's hail mary aside, second batch of CASF public housing proposals looks pretty much like the first

12 April 2015 by Steve Blum
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The second round of applications for grants to install broadband facilities in California public housing projects produced about as many proposals as the first, but the total ask is more than three times as high.

Forty-eight proposals seeking a total of $4.4 million were sent to the California Public Utilities Commission by the 1 April 2015 deadline, versus 52 totalling $1.3 million submitted three months earlier. The difference is in the technologies proposed.

The lion’s share of the requests this time around – $3 million – came from the Richmond Housing Authority in western Contra Costa County.… More

Oops, Charter proves it can't serve public housing residents

20 February 2015 by Steve Blum
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Okay, people, you have to tell me these things, alright? I’ve been frozen for 30 years, okay?

In a self-defeating gesture, Charter Communications is challenging four public housing broadband grant applications made to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

Charter claims residents at four complexes – two in Long Beach and two in San Bernardino – can buy Internet service at speeds in the 100 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload range.

Unfortunately for Charter, it doesn’t really matter.… More

WiFi dominates California public housing broadband grant proposals

18 February 2015 by Steve Blum
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Good enough for public housing.

Wired networks account for only two of the 52 public housing grant proposals made to the California Public Utilities Commission in the first round of applications. The rest either rely on WiFi – mesh networks, mostly – or, in the case of 24 projects proposed by the San Bernardino County housing authority, don’t specify a technology type.

Promised service speeds are consistent with both the technology proposed and the CPUC’s disappointing low minimum of 1.5 Mbps down and nothing particular for uploads, significantly less than the 6 Mbps down/1.5 Mbps minimum it thinks is acceptable for Californians who don’t live in public housing, and nowhere near the FCC’s new standard of 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up.… More

Public housing broadband heading for second class status in California

18 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Lower broadband performance standards for Californians living in public housing are one step away from adoption by the California Public Utilities Commission. As it stands now, later this morning the CPUC will approve subsidy rules for broadband facility upgrades in publicly supported housing that set 1.5 Mbps download speeds as the minimum acceptable level, and no service level requirements at all for upload speeds. The stuff that’s installed has to be capable of supporting higher speeds, but actual performance is optional.… More

Public housing broadband should be cheaper and faster, CETF says

4 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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How much should Internet access in public housing projects cost, and how fast should it be? Those are the central two questions that the California Emerging Technology Fund is raising in regards to a proposed public housing broadband subsidy program, currently under consideration at the California Public Utilities Commission.

In comments filed on Tuesday, CETF is taking the position that public housing residents should be able to buy a minimum level of service for $10 per month, rather than the $20 as currently proposed, and that the minimum service speed residents can get during peak hours – 7 to 11 p.m.… More

California readies $25 million public housing broadband program

18 November 2014 by Steve Blum
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Public housing operators in California can start applying for broadband facilities and marketing subsidies beginning next month, assuming the California Public Utilities Commission approves draft rules for the program that were released yesterday.

I can’t summarise the program any better than CPUC staffer Tom Glegola…

The Account provides $20 million for grants and loans to finance inside wiring and equipment, and $5 million for adoption projects. AB 1299, the legislation creating the new account, limits eligibility for both activities to a “Publicly supported community” (PSC) which is defined as “a publicly subsidized multifamily housing development that is wholly owned” by either a chartered public housing authority or a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that has received public funding to subsidize the construction or maintenance of affordable housing.


Public housing broadband subsidies raise hard questions for CPUC

Cable comes knocking.

The California Public Utilities Commission is trying to untangle the can of worms created by the state legislature last year, when it passed assembly bill 1299, which sets up broadband subsidy programs for public housing projects. It was part of the package that added $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund and extended eligibility for infrastructure grants and loans.

A ruling issued by commission president Michael Peevey last week contains a long list of questions – 39, in fact – that need answering before the CPUC can spend $20 million on broadband facilities in public housing projects and $5 million to market service to residents.… More