Governor Brown Signs AB 1665 “Internet for All” bill

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1665, Eduardo Garcia. Telecommunications: California Advanced Services Fund.

Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. Existing law establishes, among other funds related to telecommunications, the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) in the State Treasury. Existing law requires the commission to develop, implement, and administer the CASF to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians that will promote economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies, as provided in specified decisions of the commission and in the CASF statute. Existing law requires the commission to give priority to projects that provide last-mile broadband access to households that are unserved by an existing facility-based broadband provider. Existing law establishes that the goal of the program is, no later than December 31, 2015, to approve funding for infrastructure projects that will provide broadband access to no less than 98% of California households. Existing law authorizes the commission to collect a surcharge for deposit into the CASF not to exceed $315,000,000 in total and authorizes the surcharge until 2020. Existing law establishes 4 accounts, the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account, the Broadband Infrastructure and Revolving Loan Account, and the Broadband Public Housing Account, within the CASF and specifies the amount of moneys to be deposited into each account.

This bill would revise the goal of the program to provide that its goal is to approve funding by December 31, 2022, for infrastructure projects that will provide broadband access to no less than 98% of California households in each consortia region, as identified by the commission on or before January 1, 2017. The bill would eliminate the Broadband Infrastructure and Revolving Loan Account and would require the transfer of the remaining unencumbered moneys in that account as of January 1, 2018, and the deposit of moneys collected that would be owed to that account into the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.

The bill would establish within the CASF the Broadband Adoption Account and would require specified amounts of moneys to be deposited into this new account, the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, and the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account. The bill repeals the current authorization to collect up to $315,000,000 for deposit in the CASF at a rate of up to $25,000,000 per year through the 2020 calendar year, and instead would authorize the commission to collect $330,000,000 for deposit into the CASF beginning January 1, 2018, and continuing through the 2022 calendar year.

The bill would revise the eligibility requirements for projects and project applicants for grants funded from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account. The bill would make moneys from the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account available to facilitate the deployment of broadband infrastructure by assisting infrastructure grant applicants in the project development or grant application process.

The bill would require recipients of those moneys to conduct an annual audit and to submit to the commission an annual report regarding activities funded by those moneys. The bill would make available moneys in the Broadband Adoption Account to specified entities for digital literacy training, public education, and outreach programs to increase broadband adoption by consumers.
Existing law requires the commission to conduct and report to the Legislature, by April 1, 2021, a final financial audit and a final performance audit of the CASF.

This bill would require the commission to conduct and report to the Legislature, by April 1, 2020, an interim financial audit and an interim performance audit. The bill would delay the date for the submission of the final audits to April 1, 2023.

Existing law requires the commission to annually report specified information relative to the CASF to the Legislature. Existing law repeals these reporting requirements on January 1, 2022.

This bill would revise the information specified for inclusion in the report. The bill would repeal these reporting requirements on January 1, 2024. The bill would require the commission to identify unserved areas and delineate the areas in the annual reports. The bill would require the commission to consult regional consortia, stakeholders, and consumers regarding priority areas and cost-effective strategies to achieve the broadband access goal through public workshops conducted at least annually no later than April 30 of each year.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.

Because a violation of an order or decision of the commission implementing the bill’s requirements would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Full Bill is Under Goverment Tab. 

Broadband On The Brain

The House Rural Broadband Caucus plans a staff briefing today on changes to the FCC’s Mobility Fund. Panelists are US Cellular’s Grant Spellmeyer, Mosaik’s Chip Strange, Cellcom’s Larry Lueck and the Competitive Carriers Association’s Tim Donovan. “As demand for spectrum to power internet-connected devices skyrockets and the need to extend broadband service in rural areas emerges as a national priority, both the Federal Communications Commission and Congress are looking for competitive ways to distribute limited federal funds and resources based on reliable data to preserve and expand mobile broadband services,” reads the invite from six House offices leading the caucus. The event is not open to the public or press.

Source POLITICO Morning Tech

Governor Brown Veto for SB-649 “Small Cells Bill”[Updated]

Governor Brown’s veto message is here: Sb_649_Veto_Message_2017

Full implementation of the G5 Networks will require small cell towers on every corner, this veto will require the cellphone providers to negotiate with every county, city, town, and village in California, which will delay the rollout of this vital technology for self-driving vehicles.  Communities that embrace the technology will have a competitive advantage over the laggards.  The question is, which rural communities are, going to recognize the advantage and step up to be first and not the last.

Update 10-17-17

– The cities of California thank Brown, said League of California Cities President Rich Garbarino: “Cities support expanding connectivity but not through a policy that would have shifted power and resources from our communities to a billion-dollar industry.” Wireless Infrastructure Association President Jonathan Adelstein issued a statement expressing disappointment and said California must act on permitting and rights of way “or its residents will be left behind.” CTIA Senior Vice President Jamie Hastings echoed the disappointment and said the veto risks slowing California’s 5G deployment. “Twelve states have already enacted legislation to streamline deployment,” Hastings said. 

Source Politico Morning Tech

That makes 12 states more competitive for self-driving vehicles than California.

In 2016 Space X Revealed Plans for Gigabit Broadband by Satellite

Space X has filed applications with the FCC to deploy a constellation of more than 4,000 satellites tasked with bringing gigabit broadband service to the masses. According to the applications made with the FCC, Space X’s plan involves the launch of 4,425 satellites into low-earth orbit, operating in the Ku and Ka frequency bands.

Space X has opened a new office just outside of Seattle to focus on developing the satellites, which will be roughly 13 feet long and 6 feet wide, with 19-foot-long solar arrays.

The company says its goal is to cover “virtually all parts of the Earth s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service.”

“The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users worldwide,” Space X says of its plan.

The company’s application to the FCC doesn’t offer any cost or pricing details, or provide a launch estimate. Space X says the effort will begin with the launch of roughly 800 satellites that will deliver commercial broadband service to portions of the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It’s not clear when Space X would offer residential satellite broadband service, though historically such options have come at a high price with strict usage caps.

The project, which Space X founder Elon Musk has stated will cost at least $10 billion, was first announced in January of last year [2015].

Source

RET will continue to track this application.  Other space-based Internet projects have been more hype than bandwidth. As noted in the article, most satellite systems come with data caps.

Rep. McNerney Continues Fight for Veterans with Bipartisan Broadband Bill

Oct 10, 2017, Press Release (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09), a longtime champion for veterans, continued his fight for our nation’s heroes by introducing H.R. 3995, the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2017.

This bipartisan legislation, which is co-sponsored by Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), directs the Federal Communications Commission to produce a report examining the current state of veterans’ access to broadband and what can be done to increase access, with a focus on low-income veterans and those living in rural areas. The report must be completed within one year of the bill’s enactment and include findings and recommendations for Congress.

Source

The Rise Of Fiber Infrastructure

As the need for increased Internet speed and capacity rises, the United States is poised for an increased investment fiber infrastructure over the next five years. Investment in fiber deep – that is, access-network ber that edges closer to the residential or business customer – holds the potential to stimulate economic productivity and set the stage for the forthcoming fifth-generation (5G) mobile network’s array of new applications.

The 5G world will be characterized by a far denser grid, composed of small cells and hot spots in high-frequency bands, and coverage will be measured in yards instead of miles. In essence, future connectivity will require a massive infusion of ber deep into networks to provide a foundation for the inevitable explosion of mobile data traffic around 2020.

Fiber-deep deployment can also expand broadband service across urban, suburban, and rural areas, bolstering the national infrastructure by bringing affordable high-speed connectivity to customers no matter where they live.

Source

The full paper is under the TECHNOLOGY tab. While it focuses on the technology provided by Corning Glass, it examines the challenge that communities face in installing 5G fiber networks. It introduces policy makes to currently available technology to address increasing network complexity.

Small Idaho Town Builds It’s Own Fiber Network

This small town in Idaho gets it! Broadband is another utility just like power, water, and sewer. They are building a fiber network just like they financed their water and sewer systems. Build it and charge the users. Sewer and water connections come with an upfront fee and a monthly fee for using it has been that way for over a 100 years. Why have more cities and town not concluded that broadband is a similar part of the required infrastructure, water, sewer, and power? Lack of inspired leadership? We have risk-adverse administrators and political leaders that would instead let someone else do it, and it never gets done. Here is a successful model to follow.

http://www.dailyyonder.com/unique-funding-model-makes-citizens-funding-partner-network/2017/10/05/21706/

Brad Smith, Microsoft President at Montana High Tech Summit on Jobs and Broadband

By Russ Steele

Smith was the Keynote speaker at Senator Steve Daines Montana High Tech Summit on October 9th.  Smith covers the future of jobs and the role of technology and education in a changing job market. One of the critical aspects of this transition is access to broadband communications, “a critical necessity of life” according to Smith, an element that is missing in the lives of 2.4 million rural citizens in the US.  According to Smith, President Trump is committed to reducing this number by 80% over the next five years with a $50 Billion dollar investment.  Using Microsoft’s Rural Airband technology, the cost could be reduced from $60 Billion to $12 Billion, said Smith.  AirBand is Microsoft’s  TV Whitespace initiative. Microsoft wants to reduce the cost of an AirBand router to $200.00. More at this YouTube video starting at 2:08

What is ATSC 3.0?  Merges Your TV with Broadband Internet, Ready or Not!

ATSC 3.0 is the latest version of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standard. Your current TV is using ATSC 1.0 . ATSC 3.0 broadcast system standard combines broadcasting and broadband internet into an integrated entertainment system.  The ATSC 3.0 standard will bring several enhancements to mobile TV viewing, including better sound quality, ultra high definition TV, 3D TV, more dynamic range, higher frame rates and a more extensive gamut of colors. To do all of this the standard marries your TV to your broadband Internet, converting the TV digital signal to the Internet protocol enabling data streams integration at your TV set or a set-top box.

Next Gen TV

How does all this work?  The short answer, ATSC 3.0 will be a hybrid television delivery system. The audio and video content will be broadcast over the air in an IP format, and other content like targeted ads will be sent over your IP internet connection and integrates them into the selected video program. This will require a different kind of over the air tuner than the digital tuner you have now, which will be a gateway that connects to your home WiFi router or a gateway with a built-in WIFI router.

When will all this happen? It is happening in South Korea right now; they are working out the bugs and refining the software and developing the integrated hardware.  In the US the pace is much slower, without any government prodding or incentives.

From the Tablo Blog:

Earlier this year, the FCC cleared the way for voluntary adoption of ATSC 3.0. Unlike with the well-planned 2009 transition to ATSC 1.0, as of now there is no specific goal date for the switchover. In fact, members of the FCC noted during the adoption deliberations that setting a transition date now was ‘premature’ (http://www.multichannel.com/news/policy/fcc-unanimously- approves-atsc-30-rollout-proposal/411086) and even raised concerns about lack of details in the plan and how it would impact consumers.

Right now, alpha trials of ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are planned for late 2017 by WRAL-TV (NBC) in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and WJW-TV (FOX) in Cleveland, Ohio. While early work on this standard is being undertaken by other stations, the rest of the voluntary deployments by broadcasters won’t begin until 2019. Even then, broadcasters will be required to simulcast via the ATSC 1.0 standard for a set (but still undetermined) time period.

Why should you care about ATSC 3.0 The first thought that comes to mind it assumes that all TV set owner has a broadband internet connection.  In April 2017 the California Public Utilities Commission found that only 43 percent of rural households had access to reliable broadband service.  While agencies and companies are struggling to bring broadband to rural families, they may not succeed by the time ATSC 3.0 is fully implemented over the next decade. 

The troubling part is it may take the US a decade to fully implement this standard, as it requires TV stations to buy more expensive equipment while maintaining the 1.0 standard broadcasts. From a competitive technology standpoint, the US is being left in the dust. South Korea plans to have their system in operation by 2018.

From the Tablo Blog again:

South Korea has already chosen ATSC 3.0 as its next-generation broadcast standard. Since 2016, LG Electronics and its partners have conducted successful trials of an end-to-end 4K Ultra HD OTA broadcast using the ATSC 3.0 candidate standards. The South Korean plan is to deploy ATSC 3.0 nationally in time for broadcasts of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

It should be noted that South Korea is a small country led by imaginative leaders in the technology sector,  Your LG TV set will be ready for ATSC 3.0 long before your favorite TV station is ready to transmit an ATSC 3.0 signal. This time gap leaves an opening for a new stations to capture the technology wave. ATSC 3.0 TV sets in your den with no signal, is a void to be filled by video and broadband entrepreneurs. 

I will be tracking this technology as part of my Rural Economy Technology quest. Stay Tuned.