Thankful for one more trip around the sun

27 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Martina mcbride

Happy Thanksgiving, Gentle Reader. I’m most thankful that you’re interested enough to be reading this on a holiday weekend. Next to that, I’m thankful there’s only a month left in 2020. As Jimmy Buffett and Martina McBride sang, this year gone by ain’t been a piece of cake.

If you’re still reading, I’ll assume you have some particular interest in this Humble Blog, and might want to know what I have planned for it. I began it twelve years ago, and went to daily blogging eight years ago this coming Tuesday.… More

Forcing mobile carriers to share light poles isn’t a practical possibility

25 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Mwc la site 21oct2019

One question I often get is can local or state governments require mobile carriers to share cell sites, particularly small ones that can be attached to something like a street light pole?

No.

There are technical issues with carriers sharing big, macro site towers, but those are generally solvable if the tower is big enough, and cities can sometimes pressure or cajole carriers to work together. A major consideration is whether the location of a given tower meets the engineering requirements of a mobile carrier.… More

No help for California in FCC’s lifeline plea deal with T-Mobile

24 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Sprint booth mwc la 2019 22oct2019

T-Mobile will pay a $200 million fine to clear Sprint’s bad conduct off of the Federal Communication Commission’s books, but the deal doesn’t include repayment of state subsidies that the company took for low income “lifeline” customers who weren’t actually using the service. T-Mobile assumed responsibility for Sprint’s lifeline service – Assurance Mobile – when it took over Sprint earlier this year. The violations of the subsidy rules and improper collection of “tens of millions of dollars” from the FCC’s lifeline piggy bank happened before the merger but came to light while the FCC and the California Public Utilities Commission were reviewing it.… More

CPUC commissioners to decide if Digital Path’s sharp dealing deserves taxpayers’ money

23 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Three card monte

Not every project proposed for a broadband infrastructure grant from the California Advanced Services Fund that could have been waved through and approved administratively was. Nine grant requests from Charter Communications received a “ministerial” blessing, but a proposal from Digital Path was bucked to the five CPUC commissioners for a decision.

Digital Path wants $415,000 from CASF for fixed wireless facilities to cover 279 homes, mostly in Sutter County, with a few in Placer County. Cover, not necessarily serve.… More

Breaking: CPUC ups proposed RDOF kicker to as much as 30%, for all federally eligible areas in California

20 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Front line dispatch 625

Updated 10:01 a.m.

New rules for the California Public Utilities Commission’s proposed contribution – aka “kicker” – to the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) were published this morning.

Click here to see the letter.

Changes include an offer of “up to 30%” of the Federal Communications Commission’s ten year “reserve price” for “all RDOF census block groups”, with a guarantee that 10% of the FCC reserve price will be available to Internet service providers that win subsidies for census block groups that are on the previously published list of particularly disadvantaged communities.… More

FCC hands high tech a victory over low transportation bureaucracy

20 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Uber hyundai copter ces 8jan2020

On Wednesday, the lame duck Federal Communications Commission reassigned 45 MHz of automotive spectrum in the crowded 5.8/5.9 GHz band for WiFi and other unlicensed uses, including transportation applications. It’s a long overdue decision – I’ve been following the debate since the Obama administration – and a welcome one for two reasons: unlicensed spectrum is the lifeblood of consumer connectivity, and it marks a victory for 21st century technology over 19th century bureaucracy and 20th century political payoffs.… More

Waymo logs 800,000 miles in California autonomous ride sharing pilot, as CPUC preps to allow fare-paying service

19 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Autonomous vehicles (AVs) transported passengers more than 900,000 miles in California during the past two years, as part of a pilot program approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2018. Most of those miles were logged by Waymo, Google’s AV subsidiary. All of those trips were free and all were with a human driver onboard – no AV company opted to test truly driverless service, with monitoring by a remote operator.

That’s about to change.… More

CPUC fast tracks nine broadband infrastructure grants in southern California

18 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Mobile home park

Broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) were approved on a fast track basis earlier this month for nine projects submitted by Charter Communications. The letter informing Charter of its good fortune is dated on 3 November 2020, but wasn’t released by the California Public Utilities Commission until yesterday.

Combined with the tentative approval of six projects announced on Friday, that means that $32 million has been earmarked for 15 CASF grant applications submitted this year, leaving 39 projects totalling $364 million to chase the $163 million that I roughly estimate is remaining in the fund.… More

$23 million in California subsidies for six broadband infrastructure projects ready for CPUC vote

17 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Fiber patch panel sab photo 625

Six broadband infrastructure projects asking for $23 million in grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) are queued up and ready to go at the California Public Utilities Commission. Assuming all six are blessed by commissioners, that’ll leave $172 million, by my estimate, in the CASF broadband infrastructure grant account. The 48 remaining grant requests total $374 million.

A breakdown of the remaining CASF infrastructure budget and pending projects is here. I’ll update those tables as things change.… More

CPUC’s RDOF kicker goes from incentive to afterthought with yet another delay

16 November 2020 by Steve Blum
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Road closed 2

In an email sent late on Friday, the acting executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission, Rachel Peterson, said most broadband subsidy decisions will be delayed to as late as 31 March 2021, including a proposal to top up bids for federal broadband dollars with money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).

If it happens at all. She said the “kicker” intended to incentivise bidders for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) will “possibly combine state and federal funding” to “secure broadband deployment for more California residents”.… More