ViaSat bid for California broadband subsidies rejected

14 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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There’s a difference between ambition and greed.

Nearly three years after it was first submitted, ViaSat’s proposal to deliver broadband service to a stunningly large swath of western and southern California is officially dead. The company had asked the California Public Utilities Commission for $11.1 million to buy satellite dishes and receivers for people living in underserved areas from the Oregon border, south along the coast and the western side of the central valley, to the Mexican border, and east to Arizona.… More

ViaSat becomes a regulated telephone company, sorta

5 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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One of the big questions surrounding ViaSat’s request for an $11.1 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund is whether it’s even eligible for the program. The California Public Utilities Commission said yes, it is eligible at yesterday’s meeting in San Francisco, approving ViaSat’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN).

In other words, the satellite Internet service provider is now considered to be a regulated telephone company, to the extent that it’s engaging in the sort of business that the CPUC regulates.… More

No opening day CASF gold rush

2 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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There was no stampede for the newest round of broadband infrastructure grants and loans from the California Advanced Services Fund. No project applications were filed yesterday, the first day of the new season. Or at least, there were no notifications sent out – applicants are supposed to send a project summary to a service list maintained by the CPUC. And yes, I checked my spam folder.

Even so, there are still project proposals totalling $26.2 million in the hopper, left over from the last round, which closed nearly 2 years ago, on 1 February 2013.… More

ViaSat doesn't want you to know its customers still choke on FCC broadband tests

22 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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ViaSat convinced the FCC to suppress this data in its latest report. Click for bigger version.

ViaSat showed the best speed and consistency in the FCC’s latest round of national broadband testing, but those same measurements also show that its subscribers don’t get anywhere near as much data as landline customers. Similar to last year’s poor report card, the FCC results show that about a third of ViaSat’s customers get less than 2 gigabytes a month and only one of those tested hit over 10 GB.… More

DSL is the new dial-up

20 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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On the whole, Internet service providers in the U.S. performed about as well in 2013 as they did in 2012 – largely hitting the same speed and consistency benchmarks. That’s one of the conclusions of the latest FCC report on the performance of consumer-grade fixed broadband services. Diving into the detail, though, shows that DSL-based service is falling further behind the performance levels achieved by cable and fiber technologies.

The FCC puts boxes inside the homes of volunteers across the U.S.,… More

AT&T's rural broadband solution makes satellite look cheap

9 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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Something for everyone off the turnip truck.

As it shuts off new rural DSL connections, AT&T is talking up the wonders of its wireless service. It’s only going to get better if regulators allow it to take over DirecTv, at least according a statement the company filed with the SEC…

Today, many Americans in rural areas lack access to a high speed broadband service or have access to only one provider. With the cost synergies and increased revenue from this transaction, AT&T will expand its high speed broadband build to offer a competitive bundle of high speed fixed wireless broadband and satellite video service.


I got that completely wrong: satellite is allowed with a lower service hurdle by new Californian subsidy rules

21 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Satellite gets a boost, actually.

Contrary to what I posted yesterday, satellite-based Internet service providers would be eligible for broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) under new eligibility rules proposed earlier this month. In fact, the new language appears to makes it easier for satellite providers to qualify for CASF grants and loans. (H/T to Tom Glegola at CPUC for gently pointing out my error).

The draft decision, authored by commission president Michael Peevey, strikes out language now in effect that specifically includes satellite in the list of eligible technologies.… More

Satellite companies barred from California broadband subsidies

20 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Update: Pay no attention to the post below. It’s absolutely wrong. Please see my correction:

I got that completely wrong: satellite is allowed with a lower service hurdle by new Californian subsidy rules


Shot out of orbit.

Satellite Internet service providers won’t be able to get subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), if the California Public Utilities Commission approves language buried deep in a draft of new rules governing the program.

I make no excuses: I missed it the first time I read through the draft decision written by commission president Michael Peevey and circulated for public comment earlier this month.… More

CPUC finds a legal way to treat ISPs as regulated phone companies

CPUC sends a Schat across incumbents’ bow.

Buried in last week’s California Public Utilities Commission consent agenda was a resolution granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to Schat Communications, an independent Internet servicer provider based in Bishop, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. Schat applied for the CPCN in order to qualify for California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grants for two proposed last mile projects in Mono and Inyo Counties.… More

California broadband grant requests inch toward decisions

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff have started drafting resolutions for funding at least some of the broadband infrastructure proposals submitted last February for subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

The fact that staff is putting the necessary paperwork together – preliminary environmental assessments and public safety impact, for example – doesn’t mean that a project will rate highly enough to be recommended, but it does mean that the preliminary task of determining whether a project is eligible for CASF money is complete, or nearly so.… More