Charter's broadband is not the help poor people need, CPUC says

22 August 2017 by Steve Blum
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But check out what’s on pay per view.

Charter Communications lost its latest battle to keep free WiFi service out of public housing in California, but the defeat came long after the war ended in victory for cable companies and their lobbying front organisation in Sacramento. It means that 47 publicly subsidised communities, scattered across the state, get to keep grant money they received from the California Advanced Services Fund to install broadband facilities. Most of them had opted for WiFi systems that would offer slow connections at no cost to residents.… More

Cable tightens the screws on California public housing broadband

27 July 2017 by Steve Blum
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The California cable industry continues to gain ground in its perverse, and oxymoronic, fight to fence off public housing communities from government subsidies. Last year, cable industry lobbyists convinced a biddable senator to slip a big perk into a bill extending the life of a program that pays for broadband facilities – mostly equipment that’s used to provide free (and slow) WiFi access – in public housing. It was language that limited grants to only “unserved” properties, where residents aren’t offered market rate broadband service at all.… More

California public housing broadband subsidies extended

28 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Governor Jerry Brown signed senate bill 745 yesterday, extending the life of the California Advanced Services Fund’s (CASF) public housing broadband program.

It’s a good news/bad news sort of bill. On the one hand, instead of expiring at the end of this year and being re-absorbed into other CASF accounts, the money that hasn’t been spent yet will remain available through 2020. Originally, $20 million was set aside to subsidise broadband facilities (but not the service itself) in public housing communities, and $5 million was allocated to pay for broadband marketing and digital literacy efforts aimed at convincing residents to get online.… More

Cable, telco lobby hack more meat out of California telcoms reform

22 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Lobbyists from telephone companies largely prevailed in their fight to block meaningful release of information about what they do at the California Public Utilities Commission. And the cable lobby has, for the moment, maintained an Internet access chokehold on people who live in public housing.

Senate bill 1017 was pushed by San Bruno senator Jerry Hill, after a PG&E gas pipeline exploded with fatal results for his constituency. As originally conceived, it would have reformed archaic laws that allow utilities – including telephone companies – to stamp pretty much anything confidential and keep it hidden from local governments as well as the public.… More

CPUC reforms bump ahead, but details are still lacking

30 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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The assembly utilities and commerce committee has approved two senate bills – SB 215 and SB 512 – that are key elements of a proposed package of California Public Utilities Commission reforms, although the details are yet to be worked out. One of the standard practices of the California legislature is for amendments to bills to be worked out behind closed doors after committee members vote to approve them. And that was the explicit understanding yesterday, which was agreed on largely party line votes – democrats tending to favor, republicans not.… More

Two small – for now – broadband bills advance in Sacramento

30 January 2016 by Steve Blum
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One side makes you bigger, one side makes you small…

A move to force Caltrans to play nice with broadband companies – at least, a little nice in little while – and some minor tinkering with the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) infrastructure subsidy program are moving forward in Sacramento.

The state assembly unanimously passed AB 1549, authored by Healdsburg assemblyman Jim Wood. As currently written, it would require Caltrans to make information available about conduit it installs in its own projects.… More