Monday, February 24, 2014

Rural areas shortchanged in broadband Internet service - Paradise Post

Rural areas shortchanged in broadband Internet service - Paradise Post: Jim Moorehead is working with the Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County to get the service to that county's rural areas. He said there are about 16 other counties in the same boat.

"We're not critical of the big companies for not doing it," he said. "They've got a responsibility to their shareholders." Still, he said he would like to see more money going toward installing those services for rural areas.

When a ratepayer gets a bill, he is paying a lot of nickel and dime charges. One of those charges is the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which is money that goes into closing the "digital divide," Moorehead said.

"That fund can help close it," he said. "The problem is, the carriers are fighting it."
A lot of this going on in California. It costs too much for the legacy incumbent telephone and cable companies to provide Internet connectivity to all premises in their service areas, so the kids there end up marooned in broadband backwaters. The incumbents don't want the subsidies Moorehead mentions to offset the high costs -- or anyone else receiving them either.

In addition, the CASF utilizes outdated, speed-based standards to determine areas eligible for subsidies rather than setting a higher, goal-based standard such as universal fiber optic premises Internet connectivity. It's a perfect prescription for a race to the bottom in a state that has historically viewed itself as a leader.

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