Broadband consortium facing false reporting, contempt charges skids into CPUC hearing

19 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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For more than five years, the California Public Utilities Commission has wrangled with a consortium of five Los Angeles community organisations over a $450,000 grant that was supposed to be used to produce particular broadband education programs. Three of those groups were exonerated in tentative settlements reached with CPUC enforcement staff. Another agreed to pay a fine. But the fifth – Community Union – is contesting accusations of, among other things, “false claims”, “false reports”, “inadequate and incomplete” record keeping, and “adamantly” refusing to provide documentation to CPUC staff and to auditors from the state controller’s office.… More

Broadband consortium accused of making “false reports”, CPUC wants $244,000 back

23 July 2018 by Steve Blum
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The California Public Utilities Commission began funding regional broadband development groups, AKA broadband consortia, in 2011. In rural areas, and some urban areas, the groups primarily worked on expanding broadband infrastructure. But in Los Angeles County, the focus was on broadband promotion – AKA broadband “adoption” – programs that aimed at getting more people to use – and subscribe to – Internet service.

One of those groups styled itself “California’s One Million New Internet User Coalition”.… More

More California regional broadband consortia funded

12 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Click to see the previous boundaries.

Three regional broadband consortia were approved for funding by the California Public Utilities Commission this week. That brings the total to nine, with three more queued up for next month’s meeting. Here’s how it lines up…

Approved on 10 November 2016:

  • Gold Country Broadband Consortium, $300,000 over two years. Covers Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado and a part of Alpine counties, except for the Tahoe Basin area, which [has its own, separate consortium]().

Broadband projects queued up for Monterey startups

Click for the presentation.

Independent projects are driving broadband infrastructure upgrades on California’s central coast. Maybe not as universally or as quickly as local entrepreneurs would like, but it’s happening. That was my message on Tuesday evening to the the Startup Monterey Bay Tech Meetup in Seaside.

I was asked to give an update on broadband development in the region. Those efforts center on the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC), an ad hoc group of local companies, agencies and other organisations in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties that essentially have one thing in common: an interest in getting better, cheaper and more reliable broadband service in the region.… More

North coast, eastern Sierra and San Joaquin regions up for California broadband consortia grants

23 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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That’s pretty much the speed of broadband too, in these regions.

Three more regional broadband consortia projects trickled onto the California Public Utilities Commission’s agenda for next month. A draft resolution that, if approved, would give a total of $493,000 from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to broadband consortia on the northern coast, the eastern Sierra and the San Joaquin Valley regions.

The Redwood Coast Connect Broadband Consortium, based at Humboldt State University, and the San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium, based at Fresno State, are up for their second round of financing – each received $450,000 grants in the first round, which started in 2011.… More

California broadband consortia inch forward

21 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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Urgency means different things to different people.

Three regional broadband consortia have a tentative okay for operating money from the California Advanced Services Fund. The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on grants for the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, the East Bay Broadband Consortium and the Tahoe Basin Project at its 18 August 2016 meeting (assuming an email error on Tuesday by the CPUC doesn’t delay it). Commissioners will be considering a draft resolution released on Tuesday that, if adopted, will approve the awards.… More

Community WiFi project fades away in LA

10 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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On the shelf.

A community-based WiFi access initiative that I wrote about three years ago has hit some rough waters, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. Manchester Community Technologies embarked on a project to get local businesses in economically depressed areas to share Internet connections and power a WiFi network managed by Manchester. Initially, they were serving 1,500 people a month, and running on a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission.… More

California broadband consortia try for second round of grants

23 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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Click for the big picture.

Funding for the regional broadband consortia that the California Public Utilities Commission approved four years ago has either expired or soon will. For most, that’ll mean a gap in funding while proposals for new consortia grants are processed. A total of fifteen applications were filed by last month’s deadline.

The San Diego consortium did not reapply, but it’s been inactive for some time. The One Million New Internet Users consortium in Los Angeles County didn’t come back either, which is no surprise given the way it was ripped by a state audit.… More

California legislature approves an extra $5 million for broadband consortia

18 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for the big picture.

Regional broadband consortia will be getting another $5 million from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), assuming governor Jerry Brown agrees. The state senate unanimously approved a bill yesterday that adds the money to the $10 million already allocated and largely spent by the 17 consortia that cover all but a handful of California’s 58 counties (h/t to Gladys Palpallatoc at CETF for the heads up).

The California Public Utilities Commission starting approving consortia in 2011, after the program was established by the legislature in 2010.… More

We're deciding the future of broadband now

29 March 2015 by Steve Blum
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I was asked to moderate a panel on the future of broadband at the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium conference in Ridgecrest in January. You can download the presentation here. To set it up, I put three discussion points on the table:

The future will look a lot like the past, because conduit is forever.

If you drive around southern England, or many parts of Europe, you’ll realise that twenty-first century transportation patterns were, to an amazing degree, determined two thousand years ago by Roman civil engineers.… More