Growing a region's economy and protecting its quality of life with broadband

Economic development pros at CCBC workshop.

“The goal is to put in infrastructure that supports 10 Gbps,” explained Patrick Mulhearn at the Central Coast Broadband Consortium’s (CCBC) economic development workshop this morning. Mulhearn works for Santa Cruz County supervisor Zach Friend, who is leading the effort there to overhaul the the way county manages and regulates the construction of broadband infrastructure. He pointed to two key policies approved by supervisors…

  • Allow the installation of equipment within public right of ways, subject only to “time, place and manner” of access, through the County’s encroachment permit process.

Santa Cruz looks at turning steel rails into glass pipes

23 November 2013 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

It moves even faster underground.

Santa Cruz County has 32-mile long rail line, stretching from Davenport on the north coast, south through Santa Cruz, Watsonville and connecting to a major north-south route in Pajaro, just over the Monterey County line. It’s now owned by the Regional Transportation Commission, which plans to keep using it for rail transportation and add a parallel bike and pedestrian trail. And now, maybe, a fiber optic backbone.

Creating a Santa Cruz rail-trail-fiber corridor was one of dozens of ideas floated at Civinomicon in Santa Cruz this weekend, and it gained traction with both local officials and the more than one hundred people that turned out for the three day civic hackathon.… More

Santa Cruz mayor's keynote surf challenge caps inaugural Civinomicon

18 November 2013 by Steve Blum
, ,

The Santa Cruz style of leadership.

Civinomicon was a weekend of interesting conversation about making Santa Cruz a better place, punctuated by comments from speakers who actually have that goal in their job descriptions.

Santa Cruz County treasurer Fred Keeley, supervisor Zach Friend and Santa Cruz mayor Hilary Bryant keynoted last Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

“We were having a discussion about economic development and the ideas started flying. The conversation was magical,” said Bryant, who also participated in the interest group sessions.… More

Santa Cruz broadband policy overhaul moves ahead, despite divisions

5 November 2013 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Tired of waiting for fiber.

Santa Cruz County supervisors approved an eight-month time line today for rewriting plans and rules regulating new broadband infrastructure. Originally proposed by Aptos supervisor Zach Friend, the goal is a comprehensive set of policies that shortens the approval process and ensures that broadband is an integral part of future new construction projects.

At Friend’s suggestion, the board agreed to tie broadband infrastructure plans to economic development goals. While working out the implementation details of the new broadband construction policies, staff will also be developing a master plan for new infrastructure that reflects development priorities in the county’s economic vitality strategy.… More

Santa Cruz supervisors getting update on broadband policy progress

4 November 2013 by Steve Blum
, , ,

If you’re going to dig anyway, throw in some conduit.

It’s one thing to say better broadband infrastructure needs to be encouraged and supported, and not obstructed. It’s another to actually make changes in the way governments do business. Last month, the Santa Cruz County board of supervisors approved a new set of comprehensive broadband infrastructure policies, intended to make it easier to build new facilities, now and in the future. They told county staff to come back in a month with implementation details.… More

Broadband 101 workshop in Santa Cruz looks at projects, policy

Zach and friends.

“Economic development is not just building a Costco or a car dealership”, said Santa Cruz County supervisor Zach Friend, closing out a three hour workshop on the basics of broadband development. “What we’re doing now is laying down a backbone for future economic development.”

About forty people attended event last week at CruzioWorks, including supervisors, Santa Cruz mayor Hilary Bryant and local public works and IT staff from around the county. Cruzio CEO Peggy Dolgenos was the host and emcee.… More

AT&T warns of the danger of building monopoly fiber networks

24 October 2013 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

I’m shocked, shocked to find subsidised monopolies here.

AT&T has issued an open warning about the dangers of giving public subsidies to an organization, in this case a school or library, to build its own dark fiber network…

If private fiber networks are deployed only to serve certain select locations…they will risk becoming islands of connectivity in a sea of inadequate broadband…If E-rate [federal subsidies for educational sector broadband] is to be used to deploy networks, then it will only be cost effective for the country if the funds are used by telecom providers to build publicly available networks in communities that lack adequate broadband today.


Santa Cruz County broadband policy initiative becomes a model for California

22 October 2013 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

Santa Cruz innovation gains traction in California.

The effort to clear obstacles to better broadband infrastructure in Santa Cruz County was widely praised by local elected officials and telecoms company representatives from across California, at a two day conference in Sacramento last week, organised by the California Emerging Technology Fund and Valley Vision.

“It’s a very effective process”, said Marc Blakeman, an AT&T staff lobbyist who spoke to the eighty-plus people in attendance. As the roundtable discussion turned to local challenges in other parts of the state, elected leaders repeatedly cited Santa Cruz County’s broadband infrastructure policy as a model to follow.… More

Santa Cruz culture gives tech start ups a competitive edge

Santa Cruz inspires Tomfoolery.

“The culture of community is Santa Cruz’s greatest export,” said Sol Lipman, one of three local entrepreneurs speaking at an event Thursday evening celebrating the growth and innovation of the local tech scene.
Sol is the founder of Tomfoolery, a start up that’s targeting the corporate sector with mobile apps that grow social networks within companies organically. He pointed out that the top three social networking platforms used for business are actually well known consumer market apps: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, in that order.… More

Santa Cruz County supervisors move forward with comprehensive broadband policy

Plenty of coverage, but it’s not much good without the capacity to go with it.

After being duly warned about the World Bank’s global domination conspiracy, the danger of fluoridating water and the threat to honey bees posed by mobile phones, the Santa Cruz County, California board of supervisors approved recommendations for encouraging and assisting the deployment of new and upgraded broadband infrastructure.

County staff presented the findings of a report on barriers to construction of broadband facilities in general, including fiber optic lines, rural terminal boxes and, yes, wireless facilities.… More