Three broadband subsidy projects proposed in eastern California

9 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Two companies – Race Telecommunications and Ultimate Internet Access – submitted a combined total of 3 broadband project proposals yesterday for consideration in the new round of California Advanced Services Fund grants and loans. All are in or near the desert areas northeast of Los Angeles.

Race’s application is for the Five Mining Communities project, which takes in Randsburg, Johannesburg, Red Mountain, Searles Valley and Trona, in the high desert where Inyo, Kern and San Bernardino counties meet. The proposed project would deliver gigabit class (up and down) fiber-to-the-home service and asks for a CASF grant of $9.3 million.

The two UIA proposals cover the Helendale area, southwest of Barstow in San Bernardino County, and Wrightwood, which is on the border of San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, in the Angeles National Forest. Both involve FTTH technology and claim to be capable of offering uncapped gigabit-level service (up and down), but both also will rely on microwave backhaul to support the system. Given that there are nearly 3,000 potential subscribers in each area, that’s a pretty ambitious service level for a microwave connection to support – I would love to see the details on it. The Helendale proposal asks for a $1.6 million grant from CASF, the Wrightwood project would involve a $2.1 million grant.

Race has a long track record with CASF projects, going back to a $500,000 grant awarded in 2010 to bring fiber into the Mojave Air and Space Port, and continuing through the last round of applications, with successful proposals for Boron, Tehachapi and four small communities in Mono County. UIA is a newcomer to the process.