The Governator and State Legislature in Cali must be giving up on the unfulfilled promises repeatedly made by AT&T and the cable guys. The left coast will soon be providing taxpayer funding to bring broadband to the nearly 1.5 that can’t get service. Government tends to not do things very efficiently, but it’s a fair bet thet’ll get it done sooner that a duopoly. I’m betting the duopoly lawyers will use the courts to delay deployment as long as possible.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced he has signed Senate Bill 1191 by Sen. Elaine Alquist authorizing community service districts to provide broadband services to their residents.
“We live in an age where technology drives everything we do and to remain competitive and connected in the future we must expand broadband access today,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “This legislation will help connect California’s cities to each other and to the world by growing our digital highway.” (Government Technology)
Massachusetts taxpayers will soon be subsidizing the same carriers who are not providing universal broadband coverage to provide said coverage. With the population density even in rural Mass, one would think a determined service provider could work this out without public funding. Unfortunately without competition, there is no incentive.
The measure was approved 144-0 on Monday afternoon. Rep. Denis E. Guyer, D-Dalton, earlier filed an amendment raising the bond bill’s funding to $40 million.
“The additional $15 million in funding will allow us to reach further in our efforts to provide broadband access to both unserved and underserved communities, rather than having to choose one or the other,” said Guyer in a statement. “This is incredibly important for my constituents and the commonwealth as a whole.”
Many of the communities Guyer represents have no access to high-speed Internet.
The bond bill was unveiled last August by Gov. Deval Patrick as a way to encourage investment in broadband capacity in rural and suburban areas.
The legislation would create a broadband incentive fund for developing public and private partnerships to invest in broadband infrastructure tools like conduits, fiber and wireless towers. The fund would be managed by a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
We have reported here the semi-strike by the Florida Verizon field staff in not being permitted to work on POTS services sufficiently. It looks like the FLA AG is agreeing with them to the tune of a $6.5m fine. You can repair a heck of a lot of equipment for that fee. –
TAMPA – Florida’s attorney general is calling for steep fines of Verizon Communications Inc. and an investigation into what he calls a failure to comply with state telephone repair rules and a “steady decline in Verizon’s repair performance since 2002.”
The attorney general’s office will call on state telephone regulators to issue up to a $6.5 million fine for “repeated violations of service rules during 2007,” such as Verizon taking too long to restore landline phone service to customers who lost it.
Verizon officials could not immediately be reached for comment early this afternoon. This action does not apply to Verizon Wireless, a separate corporate entity that handles cellular phones.
A Tribune investigation this spring showed a variety of repair and customer service issues at Verizon, including billing problems and long waits for telephone repair.
Verizon’s telephone outages were not by accident, says the office of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. Rather, “Verizon willfully violated the Florida Public Service quality rules in 262 cases during 2007.”
It is becoming very clear that the game Verizon is playing is shortchanging the PSTN services to the customers detriment in hope that they will switch to FIOS instead. What is the problem with that thought? Well illegal for one. But the Tampa service area is retiree haven. In many cases the folks only use a phone half the year. Fact, there is a ‘stasis service’ that only costs $2-3/mo but essentially has the POTS line closed. When the snowbird returns in the fall they call up for reactivation without incurring a install charge.
FIOS does not have the provision. So why would a retiree sign up only to get hit with either a ETF or pay for a service they only use half of the year but pay for anyway? Yeah I thought so.
Anyway write that check VZ. Otherwise the next PUC meeting might be a little testy.
Heh, and double Heh, as Glenn Reynolds would say. ThirdPipe has gone thru the CA Broadband Task Force report. we dearly hope that they did not pay any serious money for this. For example the recommendations in overview had this to say –
Build Out High-Speed Broadband Infrastructure to All Californians
Develop Model Permitting Standards and Encourage Collaboration Among Providers
Increase the Use and Adoption of Broadband and Computer Technology
Recommendation # 4:
Engage and Reward Broadband Innovation and Research
Create a Statewide E-Health Network
Leverage Educational Opportunities to Increase Broadband Use
Continue State-Level and Statewide Leadership
In an interesting twist California has been issued a recommendation that they float infrastructure bonds to increase broadband penetration in underserved areas. The rationale being that like rail, air and interstate, broadband improves productivity. –
California should consider issuing debt to augment private investment in enhancing and expanding high-speed communications services, a state task force said on Thursday.
It said that better, faster and more available broadband capabilities would propel economic growth for the most populous U.S. state, where 96 percent of households already have access to basic high-speed communications.
The task force did not specify how much debt California should issue, or in what kind, to help finance future broadband infrastructure, noting public debt is just one form of funding that should be considered.
“It’s a way to get different pots of money available,” Anne Neville, manager of the California Broadband Initiative in the state’s business, transportation and housing agency, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commissioned the report, which recommends California issue infrastructure bonds and use proceeds “in partnership” with investment from the private sector to finance components of high-speed capable networks in unserved and underserved markets.
5 years ago this would have made sense, but now it is probably a dead letter. California is in the midst of a funding crisis right now so additional bond debt would probably not be considered. Nor would a typical wired infrastructure be the most cost effective for a low density usage environment. That is why this country needs to get WiMax off the ground in a big way. It is uniquely designed to handle these type of scenarios.
Interesting but it will sit on a shelf in Sacramento never to be acted on.
Using a 3MBPS down, 1MBPS up benchmark to define what is broadband, the state’s PUC allocated a pile of money to help jump start the service in rural areas.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) yesterday allocated $100 million over two years to the new California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which will provide incentives to companies to bring broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of California, a recent press release announced.
According to the release, many of the unserved areas are rural, remote or socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
’Today’s decision signals that this state is not content to sit around waiting for federal action to bring broadband to every part of our state,’ CPUC President Michael R. Peevey said in the release. (from Yreka’s Siskiyou Daily News)
We are usually leery of government funding of infrastructure, since the money usually ends of in the hands of a duopoly member, who usually manages to build slowly, and demand more money on an ongoing basis. If the California PUC can manage to trump last mile right of ways and out-lawyer the duopoly by allowing true competitors a shot at providing service, this could actually do a lot of good. Unfortunately, I doubt that this is how the initiative will actually play out.