Santa Cruz will be Silicon Valley's first fully fiber city

30 June 2015 by Steve Blum
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Homes and businesses in Santa Cruz are one step closer to full fiber-to-the-premise broadband service. The Santa Cruz city council voted unanimously last week to move ahead with negotiating an FTTP/FTTH partnership with a local independent Internet service provider, Cruzio. As envisioned, the city would own – and finance – the network, Cruzio would operate it and the two would work together to build it.

Cruzio’s proposal to the city also leaves the door open for other ISPs to join the project – that’ll be one of many details that the forthcoming negotiations will address.… More

Community-owned fiber networks take a big step forward in Santa Cruz County

7 April 2015 by Steve Blum
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Santa Cruz County supervisors are moving ahead with a plan to build a fiber network through key economic development zones, and want to coordinate broadband development policy with the four cities in the county. They voted to put a proposal to form a fiber initiative team in front of representatives from Watsonville, Scotts Valley, Capitola and the City of Santa Cruz, and…

Work with the cities to 1) establish complimentary policies, such as the County’s model “dig once” ordinance, 2) propose changes in planning requirements for residential and business construction, 3) explore grant opportunities, and 4) coordinate sewer, water and road construction projects so that conduit for fiber can be incorporated where feasible in order to enhance broadband connectivity and expansion.


Santa Cruz tech companies need housing to draw talent to attract investment

8 February 2015 by Steve Blum
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Talent and attitude are the key to building a high tech economy in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. That’s the message from executives at four of Santa Cruz’s hottest start up companies, speaking at the kick off conference for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) on 29 January 2015.

“There’s not a thriving scene of professionals in Santa Cruz yet,” said Carolyn Hughes, VP of talent and culture at Looker. Her company maintains a shared work space in San Francisco, allows employees to work remotely two days a week, and pays for rooms in a local hotel so commuters can work in Santa Cruz the other three.… More

President Obama’s community broadband initiative follows Santa Cruz’s path

19 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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Broadband competition makes local businesses competitive.

It looks like Santa Cruz County is on the White House’s invitation list for a community broadband summit planned for June. President Barack Obama pledged to support the Next Century Cities coalition – the county is a charter member – in a speech last week. He promised to meet with mayors and county supervisors from the coalition to talk about how to better develop broadband infrastructure and service at the local level.… More

Santa Cruz companies look for developer love in Las Vegas

13 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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Wayne Torres-Rivera, Seebright’s developer community manager, pitches next-gen headset at CES.

There were as many companies from Santa Cruz exhibiting at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as there were from all of South America. And twice as many as Africa. Which is to say, there were 2. One was Plantronics aimed at, among other things, robotics, security and authentication applications, and supported by SDKs for the developers they hope to attract.

The other Santa Cruz company was Seebright, a virtual and augmented reality start-up.… More

You don't have to drive to Silicon Valley if you're already there

17 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Santa Cruz broadband policy keeps business in town, Silicon Valley leaders say.

Smart application of good broadband development policy helps local economies grow by attracting new businesses and helping existing ones grow. The place to look for it is Santa Cruz County, according to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. It’s an example that Silicon Valley sorely needs.

The group, which was founded in 1978 by David Packard and represents about 400 of Silicon Valley’s heaviest corporate hitters, announced it was giving its “Turning Red Tape into Red Carpet” award to Santa Cruz County, and supervisor Zach Friend in particular, recognising his effort over the past year and a half to simplify the rules for planting broadband infrastructure in public roads and placing it on county property.… More

CPUC approves broadband priorities developed by Central Coast Broadband Consortium

5 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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Click for the big maps.

Twelve central coast communities have been designated as priority areas for broadband infrastructure development by the California Public Utilities Commission. In a unanimous vote on Thursday, 26 June 2014, commissioners endorsed the list presented in March by the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, following a month-long workshop on
The Pleasure Point/Twin Lakes neighborhood down coast from the City of Santa Cruz, the Brookdale area in the mountains and the town of Soquel made the list, along with Aromas, two rural areas outside of Hollister and six Salinas Valley communities: Castroville, Chualar, Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City.… More

Broadband as vital as water to Santa Cruz County economy

1 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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Upgraded broadband infrastructure is at the center of Santa Cruz County’s proposed economic development plan, and the public is being asked to comment on it. Santa Cruz County supervisors voted unanimously to start a formal 45-day review process for the draft Economic Vitality Plan that sets out 7 steps for improving the local economy.

Broadband facilities would be as important as any other type of public infrastructure, such as roads and water. The document is laced with references to broadband development goals.… More

Slashing the cost of getting to yes clears the way for broadband upgrades

29 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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If you want fast and cheap Internet service, then your permit process has to be fast and cheap, too. That was the essence of the message that Santa Cruz County supervisor Zach Friend delivered to the Central Sierra Connect Broadband Consortium conference in Tuolumne City last week.

Traditionally, getting county approval to bury fiber or install an equipment box was a complicated process that subjected broadband projects to the same level of scrutiny and one-off analysis that might be applied to a new shopping center.… More

Local broadband policy models presented to central Sierra policy makers

Click to download the presentation.

Like it or not, convincing an incumbent provider to invest in improving broadband infrastructure in your community means putting a better deal in front of them than they can get elsewhere. Both Google and AT&T have money to spend on fiber upgrades, but not very much, relatively speaking. So they’re issuing short lists of cities, and then sitting back and waiting to see what those candidates put on the table.

Two things top their wish lists: getting permits quicker and cheaper, and access to public right of ways and real estate.… More