California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Workshop

CALIFORNIA ADVANCED SERVICES FUND PUBLIC WORKSHOP – SACRAMENTO, CA – APRIL 29, 2019

Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves and staff from the California Public Utilities Commission invite you to a public workshop in Sacramento on April 29, 2019. This workshop is a chance for the Commission to consult with regional consortia,  stakeholders, local governments, the federal government, existing facility-based broadband providers, and consumers regarding unserved areas of the state and cost-effective strategies for expanding access to broadband. 

  

Preliminary details of the workshop are included in the attached agenda and information sheet. Please direct questions to
Caleb Jones ((415) 703-1628/caleb.jones@cpuc.ca.gov ) or Phil Enis ((415) 703-4112/phillip.enis@cpuc.ca.gov).
 

Fact Sheet

Reports and Audits

Data, Maps & Tools

Program Description and Application Instructions

The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) is allocated to four CASF accounts and a pilot program:

Funding

The CASF is funded by a surcharge rate on revenues collected by telecommunications carriers from end-users for intrastate telecommunications services.

Contact Information

Questions about this program should be directed to:

  • Adoption, Consortia and Public Housing Accounts – Selena Huang (415) 703-5247 xsh@cpuc.ca.gov
  • Infrastructure Account and Line Extension Program – Tom Glegola (415) 703-2438 tjg@cpuc.ca.gov
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CETF Newsletter

Broadband Adoption Trends Are Improving But We Need Your Help
As a someone who cares about broadband issues in California, we thought you would be interested in this important news:   More Californians are getting connected to the Internet at home using devices that will make a real difference in improving their access to educational, career and healthcare opportunities.

The 2019 Statewide Survey on Broadband Adoption, which CETF conducted in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, finds 88% of the California households have high-speed Internet access at home through either a computing device or a smartphone.

In the last two years, the proportion of Californians connecting to the Internet through a home computing device—defined as a desktop, laptop or tablet computer—has increased from 69% to 78%.  This is a positive development given that households with only smartphone access are considered “underconnected” because they are at a disadvantage in optimizing the use of technology for certain functions, such as doing schoolwork, applying for a job, or taking online classes to expand workforce skills.

Check out news coverage of the survey in Techwire.

Continue Reading HERE.

 

 

If Broadband is Essential Infrastructure it Should be in the General Plan

In California, the General Plan is a document providing a long-range plan for a city’s and county’s physical development. Local jurisdictions have freedom as to what their general plans include, however, there are specific requirements under California state law that each general plan must meet; failure to do so could result in suspension of future development.

Each general plan must include the vision, goals, and objectives of the city or county in terms of planning and development within eight different “elements” defined by the state as: land use, housing, circulation, conservation, noise, safety, open space, and environmental justice which was added as an official element in 2016.

To assist cities and counties to develop and refine their planning document the Governor’s Office and Planning Research published some guidelines in August of 2017.  These charts capture the essence of that guidance.

Screenshot 2019-01-31 21.09.54

Screenshot 2019-01-31 21.10

Please note that broadband is not mentioned in either graphic, yet broadband has a significant relationship to land use, circulation, housing, conservation, and social justice.

Broadband is mention in the General Planning Guidelines three places:

Chapter 4, Required Elements, Page 81, broadband as a “relevant utility.”

Chapter 4, Page 82 Broadband:

“Both state and federal governments are implementing various funding programs that serve the goal of expanding broadband access to unserved and underserved areas. Within California, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) manages the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually in broadband deployment. The state also created the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), which was designed to be a public-purpose venture capital fund.”

Dig once policies can substantially reduce costs for providing broadband service to communities. A new provider can run ber through leased conduit space at a fraction of the costs, incentivizing more private actors to deploy or reducing costs to the city if self-provisioning broadband services. For example, if conduit construction was promoted along ongoing civil work projects, fiber deployment costs drop by $30,000- $100,000 per mile. On average, 60 to 90 percent of network deployment costs come from civil works as opposed to equipment and maintenance.

Chapter 6, page 211:

In addition, general plan policies may improve access to health services through integrated public transportation and provisions for access to broadband, allowing for telemedicine capacity. 

If California planners were serious about the benefits of every home and businesses having broadband access, they would provide General Planning Guidance beyond dig once.

According to a recent Brookings Metro Policy Paper in less than two decades broadband access has become one of the foundations of the American Economy, joining water, sewer, power, transportation, and energy as essential infrastructure.

If broadband is essential infrastructure, and a “relevant utility”, it should be included in the general planning requirements:

Land Use:  Reduce the cost of installing fixed and mobile wireless antennas, including G5 mini towers.  See Nevada County Land Use, Communications for WiFi example.

Circulation: Use of broadband reduces the need to travel, enables work from home, promoter online shopping all which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a California, Emerging Technology Funds report Broadband as Green Strategy, access to broadband reduces vehicle miles traveled, office-space construction, energy use, while increasing online shopping, all which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 billion tons over ten years,

Housing:  All new development should include broadband networks, especially in multi-family housing in low-income neighborhoods, where adoption is hindered by high-cost access.

Conservation:  Broadband reduces the consumption of natural resources. See Circulation.

Environmental Justice: Broadband internet improves access to health care, education, and employment. Broadband opens the doors to entrepreneurship by individual and small groups, especially in rural communities creating community wealth.

Also missing from the Governor’s Office and Planning Research planning guidelines issued in August 2017 are topics and elements related to economic development. An issue worthy of a future post. 

Your thoughts? Should Broadband be given more attention in General Planning?

CETF: Let’s Talk Broadband! Newsletter

The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) Newsletter can be downloaded HERE.

The California Census Complete County Committee is working to ensure that all Californians are prepared for the first-ever online-only national Census in 2020. The Committee seeks Requests For Proposals from large foundations and community-based organizations (CBOs) with the administrative capacity and experience to help count the hardest-to-reach Californians. Learn about California Complete Census CBO Grant Opportunities. The deadline is January 31st.

Highlight added.  I just received the Newsletter on Jan 24 and the Deadline is Jan 31.

There is more in the Newsletter, I highlighted this section to draw attention to the short suspense date for Grant Opportunities.

 

CETF: Let’s Talk Broadband!

 

Welcome to the Fall 2018 edition of Let’s Talk Broadband! Did you know that an estimated 13 million Californians are unconnected or underconnected to the Internet at home? As school gets into full swing, please read our story of Oakland High School sophomore Jesus Toscano. Jesus’s family learned about discount Internet service through Tech Exchange of Oakland, a partner of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF). Jesus is now in a college prep program at Oakland High School with dreams of working at Pixar. Jesus’s success story can be replicated throughout California.

Many organizations and civic leaders are stepping up as Digital Champions and we have lots of good news to report: See the Attached PDF

CETF 2018 Digital Divide Follow-up Survey

The California Emerging Technology Fund has published the 2018 Digital Divide Follow-up Survey. The survey was conducted by Davis Research who re-interviewed a subset of Californians participating in the 2017 Annual Survey. The survey finds many low-income Californians cannot afford broadband at home and are not aware that discount options exist. The survey also found that many Californians’ access to the Internet changes year-to-year, in part due to the cost.

Among the critical findings:

In 2017, the survey found 31% of Californians are “unconnected” or “under-connected”—they have no access at all (13%) or only access the Internet at home through a mobile phone (18%). Californians’ access to home Internet fluctuates from year-to-year as some residents who were previously unconnected or under-connected migrate up to computer access, while others who formerly had computer access migrate down. “This churn is most likely the result of changing economic circumstances affecting the state’s householders,” said Mark DiCamillo, who directed both the follow-up survey for Davis Research and the CETF 2017 broadband study. Among those currently unconnected or under-connected to the Internet at home, 82% say fully connected service is “too expensive” for them.

In addition to lack of affordability, the survey reveals there is low awareness of discount Internet service options that most major ISPs in California make available to eligible low-income households. Of households most likely to qualify, 72 percent have never heard of these offers. To learn about low-cost, affordable Internet programs in your area visit:
http://www.internetforallnow.org/get_affordable_internet_today.

Low-income households with no Internet access or a mobile phone-only connection tell us they are at a disadvantage when accessing online benefits and services. According to households re-interviewed in 2018, they are at a disadvantage to: learn about or get access to government services (51%), do job searches and apply for work online (50%), assist their children’s education (45%), get health and medical information or communicate with a doctor (45%) and gain new career skills through online classes or training (43%).

It is embarrassing that in a state known as the world’s innovator, almost a third of the residents continue to be disenfranchised from taking full advantage of online educational, healthcare, job and civic engagement opportunities, and even public services.

Full Survey is HERE

It is more than embarrassing; it is the tragedy of failed leadership in Sacramento. Other states and counties with fewer resources than California have solved the problem and provided the critical infrastructure, just like water, power, transportation infrastructure and waste management.  The tragedy is that we can spend billions on high-speed rail to nowhere, and billions to control climate change which is a natural cycle all while denying Californias’ access to critical communications infrastructure.

CETF: Let’s Talk Broadband

Sunne Wright McPeak, President, and CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund writes in the CETF newsletter introduction:

In this Summer 2018 edition, we are thrilled to feature former Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn, a passionate and effective advocate for Digital Inclusion who cares deeply about the issues California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) supports. Commissioner Clyburn joined CETF at a recent Digital Inclusion Roundtable co-hosted with The Greenlining Institute and The Utility Reform Network (TURN) on the occasion of the institute’s 25th anniversary. In other news: CETF, The Greenlining Institute, and TURN are jointly urging the FCC to require Internet Service Providers to make public critical affordable broadband adoption data. Commissioner Clyburn supports this effort and issued a powerful statement on her final day as Commissioner.

Please also read the Q&A with Amy Tong, Chief Information Officer for the California Department of Technology and Chair of the California Broadband Council on her plans to promote public-private partnerships. And get an update from the first School2Home Northern California Regional Leadership Collaborative.

The CETF Newsletter is HERE.