StimulatingBroadband.com 09/10/09 As Round I of the federal broadband stimulus program moves ahead, several state-level broadband programs continue to subsidize in-state projects with their own funds. Typically these state funds are raised via surcharges on telephone subscriber lines, or through bonding authority authorized by state legislatures.
Today the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), approved funding of $285,992 to the Kernville Interconnect Project to bring high-speed Internet broadband for the first time to 9,179 unserved households in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain communities around Lake Isabella, including Kernville, Onyx, Weldon, and Wofford Heights.
"California is a leader in broadband deployment and we have a strong commitment to digital inclusion, recognizing that it is vital to the American economic recovery," said CPUC Commissioner Rachelle Chong, a member of the state's Broadband Task Force.
"The CPUC is pleased to bring broadband to these Southern Sierra Nevada families, so their children can access the Internet to do their homework, their parents can access health care and job information, and small businesses can expand their markets globally."
This is the 27th project approved as part of the CPUC's California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which was created to help bridge the digital divide in the state.
The Kernville Interconnect Project will provide broadband service at average speeds starting at 3 mega bits per second (Mbps) for download and 256 Kbps upload to 9,179 households covering 44 square miles that currently have no broadband service at all. This will be accomplished through the laying of underground fiber optic cable along State Highway 178 between Ridgecrest and Lake Isabella in Kern County.
Project sponsor MCC Telephony of the West, LLC, will receive a 40 percent matching grant of $285,992 from the CPUC's broadband fund. MCC, a subsidiary of Mediacom Communications Corp., will match the grant with 60 percent of the total project cost ($714,979) from its own sources and does not plan to seek federal ARRA stimulus funds for this proposed project.
On December 20, 2007, the CPUC established the two-year, $100 million CASF to provide 40 percent matching infrastructure grants to broadband providers willing to put up the matching 60 percent of funds and to serve the nearly 2,000 California communities that are currently unserved and underserved by broadband. Of that $100 million, $12.6 million in broadband infrastructure grants have so far been approved, including the grant awarded today.
There remains $87.40 million in CASF funds available for unserved and underserved areas. Applications from broadband providers are still being accepted by the CPUC.
Governor's Broadband Taskforce.
California Public Utilities Commission
CalPhoneInfo: California's Consumer Education Initiative