Six broadband infrastructure projects asking for $23 million in grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) are queued up and ready to go at the California Public Utilities Commission. Assuming all six are blessed by commissioners, that’ll leave $172 million, by my estimate, in the CASF broadband infrastructure grant account. The 48 remaining grant requests total $374 million.
In an email sent late on Friday, the acting executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission, Rachel Peterson, said most broadband subsidy decisions will be delayed to as late as 31 March 2021, including a proposal to top up bids for federal broadband dollars with money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).
If it happens at all. She said the “kicker” intended to incentivise bidders for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) will “possibly combine state and federal funding” to “secure broadband deployment for more California residents”.… More
Hope is dead that bidders for federal broadband money in the ongoing Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction would have certainty or, perhaps, even a clue regarding the California Public Utilities Commission’s supplemental subsidy plan before the auction ends. That means that the incentive value of California’s money is zero for most, if not all, Internet service providers in the reverse auction that’ll determine which communities and states divvy up $16 billion earmarked by the Federal Communications Commission for rural broadband service upgrades.… More
The presumptive 46th president likes broadband, at least insofar as it promotes “an equitable, clean energy future”. He thinks everyone should have it, and the people who build and run it should be members of labor unions. That’s about all Joe Biden is saying about broadband policy as he begins to light up his transition team.
Nathan Simington is due to interview for the job of republican FCC commissioner today. The federal senate’s commerce committee is scheduled to consider what are now lame duck appointments to federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission. Even if the republican majority on the committee blesses Simington, he won’t be approved by the full senate unless republican FCC chair Ajit Pai agrees to step down before the end of the year. And maybe not then.
As a practical matter, the FCC is made up of three commissioners from the party holding the white house, and two from the other major party.… More
Proposition 22 is on its way to a landslide victory in California. When last I checked, yeses were leading noes by 17%. It creates a third class of workers, between wage slave employees and the righteously self-employed (you might guess how I feel about all this). The campaigns for – led by Uber and Lyft – and against – funded by labor unions – have been described as the costliest in California’s history, which is very expensive indeed.… More
Fiber matters, particularly in rural California where copper telephone lines are rotting on the poles and where cable companies can’t rake in the high level of monopoly profits they can in denser and richer urban communities.
It’s about speed, capacity and cost.
Technically, it’s possible to push 10 Gbps through some kinds of copper cable under the right conditions. It means operating at the ragged edge of what’s possible, though. Whether a cable or telephone company could actually achieve that in a rural area, given the age of their overall plant, their willingness to invest and the availability of backhaul is an open question that they can’t answer until they actually build it, although they will make promises regardless.… More
Voters in California decisively strengthened an already strong privacy law, and took away the power of elected officials to amend and enforce it. When the dust cleared yesterday, yes votes on proposition 24 had a 12% lead over the noes. Ballot counting in California might drag on until the middle of December, but it is all but mathematically certain that yes will prevail by a wide margin.
It’s just an outline with more questions than answers now, but the broadband plan commissioned by California governor Gavin Newsom is beginning to take shape. A draft outline is posted on the California Broadband Council’s (CBC) website. It identifies the central problem that has challenged many Californians during the covid–19 emergency – lack of reliable, fast broadband service they can afford or, indeed, sometimes at any price – but doesn’t yet focus on specific solutions.… More
The California Public Utilities Commission took another run at the numbers and the conclusion is the same: 69,000 low income Californian households live in places where the only wireline telecommunications company is Frontier Communications, which is their sole source for wired broadband service only if Frontier considers it profitable enough to offer it in the first place.