California broadband subsidy debate moves behind closed doors

14 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Waiting for the word.

Two bills that, together, will make significant changes to the way the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) operates face an uncertain future in the California legislature. Both are alive following Monday’s vote by the assembly utilities and commerce committee, but now need the blessing of key legislators to keep moving toward final approval.

Senate bill 740 adds $90 million to CASF and allows independent ISPs and cities to apply for broadband infrastructure subsidies.… More

Second chance for California broadband subsidies

12 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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It’s not pretty, but it’s alive again.

The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) has a new lease on life. The assembly utilities and commerce committee brought senate bill 740 back from the dead this afternoon on an 11 to 4 vote. If it makes it through the rest of the legislative process, it will add $90 million to CASF and (sort of) lengthen the list of eligible applicants.

All fifteen members of the committee were on hand for the special meeting.… More

Monday is make or break day for California broadband subsidies

11 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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How many seats will be empty?

Eight members of the assembly utilities and commerce committee have to vote aye three times to resurrect a bill to top up and extend the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). A special committee meeting is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Monday, and senate bill 740, the CASF extension, is the only item on the agenda.

The first, and most important, choice committee members will make is to vote with their feet.… More

Sunday morning coming down in Sacramento

10 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Jesse knew a lot about the cleanest dirty shirt.

Money is the mother’s milk of politics.
Jesse Unruh, most powerful assembly speaker in California history

Money, the kind that pays for increasingly expensive California legislative campaigns, is what gives Sacramento lobbyists power when ideas and ideals run out of steam. Voters remember the big and simple issues – say, whether to raise taxes or give hybrid cars a free pass in diamond lanes – but it’s lobbyists who meticulously track every vote on the small and complex bills that comprise the daily toil at the state capitol.… More

Latest proposed changes to California broadband subsidies a net gain, but not as much as hoped

Take the money and run.

There’s good news, good news and bad news in the latest version of senate bill 740, which renews and rewrites the rules for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Under a deal cut yesterday, Comcast and a lobbying organisation for the cable industry in California said they would drop their opposition to the bill in exchange for tougher restrictions on how broadband subsidy funds can be spent.

It’s good news that an extra $90 million is going into CASF.… More

Cable lobby edits California broadband subsidy bill, but at least it's moving forward again

7 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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You can’t have my precious.

A last minute deal was struck with the California Cable Television Association and Comcast to get their support for a bill that would add $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and allow independent ISPs and cities to apply for infrastructure subsidies under very tight restrictions.

Senate bill 740 stalled in an assembly committee last month after cable lobbyists carpet bombed members with phony fears about overbuilding and false claims about how many Californians lack broadband service, and how much of it they need.… More

California lawmakers have a chance to reconsider cable lobby's big lie

1 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Even Comcast doesn’t believe 1.5 Mbps is enough.

The effort to resurrect a proposal to add $90 million to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and allow independent ISPs and cities to apply for grants is gathering steam. The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) has published a white paper that’s aimed at debunking one of the more outrageous bits of misinformation spread by cable lobbyists as they derailed the bill in an assembly committee last month.… More

Trading broadband subsidies for access to California public housing residents

17 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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A couple of apartments are enough to make cable companies lose their taste for monopoly.

Public housing agencies stand between residents and cable television companies. Like any other landlord in California, a public housing agency has considerable (but not total) control over who can install wiring in a building or complex, and consequently who can sell television, telephone and Internet service to residents.

That control is about to be trimmed back a notch.

Assembly bill 1299 proposes to use $20 million from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to improve broadband infrastructure in public housing, plus another $5 million to encourage residents to buy service, assuming lawmakers also add more money to the account.… More

Landlords face down Google: who benefits from broadband?

16 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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Complex issue for Kansas City complexes.

Google Fiber’s offer in Kansas City of at least 5 Mbps Internet service for at least seven years for a one-time $300 installation fee is a rocking good deal if you own a house, or even if you’re a renter who expects to be around for a couple of years. But the economics are different for apartment buildings, where landlords have to pay the fee and tenants get the free service.… More

Broadband infrastructure and public housing now a common cause

10 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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Doesn’t matter how many buckets you have if the well runs dry.

The officially amended version of a bill aimed at improving Internet access and increasing its use in public housing projects has been released, and its good news for broadband infrastructure in California.

Assembly bill 1299 would set aside $25 million from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to wire public housing units and pay for marketing programs to encourage residents to sign up for service.… More