They can call it what they like, but the fact is that the California Cable & Telecommunications Association would prefer that any competition to their cable company monopolies be stopped. It is why the Nevada County Connected fiber optic project has been going through over four months of challenges to its California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant thanks to Comcast, Suddenlink, and Verizon Wireless — all who do not offer service within the 26 square mile project area.
Yesterday, the California Cable & Telecommunications Association — and in particular, Comcast — killed SB 740 in the California State Assembly. This bill would have added $120M — which was then lowered to $90M — into the California Advanced Services Fund to bring better Internet access in rural areas. This does not affect the current Nevada County Connected grant application, but will affect any future projects.
The California Advanced Services Fund is funded from a 14¢ monthly fee on your phone bill. SB 740 would have raised it to 16¢ per month.
On top of this, AB 1229 was approved today in a Senate committee. This bill diverts $25M in existing CASF monies to fund Internet access in public housing. These are subsidies for the cable companies and telcos to build in lower income areas, that they have chosen not to do on their own.
It is time for all of rural Californians to say enough. Please start by posting your comments on the California Cable & Telecommunications Association Facebook page. Let them know that 1.5 Mbps is absolutely nowhere near good enough for rural California. And that their tactics are deplorable.
You can read more about SB 740’s unfortunate defeat at Steve Blum’s blog post on the Tellus Venture Associates website.