This day long event is sponsored by Central Sierra Connect and takes place at the Black Oak Casino Resort Hotel. Its purpose is to bring new ideas and information to the subject of improved and access in the rural communities of the Central Sierra. These are my running notes.
9:00 Good start with plenty of high speed broadband. The room is full and Darrell Slocum is introducing the day. We’ll be talking about where we are and where we need to get to with infrastructure. Also closing the divide between haves and have nots. There is no one who can do this for us. We have to take this on.
9:15 Larry Cope firm Economic Development Authority now speaking. A challenge having good broadband at both work and home. We are already handicapping our students by the lack of connection to the rest of the world. You cannot do economic development without broadband. Share what you learn today with friends and co workers. Become an advocate.
9:30 CPUC representatives talking about broadband mapping to determine areas eligible for finding. Live demo of CA broadband map. Maps are not accurate down to address level, due to unwillingness of service providers. Example address demonstrates that the feedback process doesn’t work well for areas that are truly unserved. Maps show what we already know, our Internet availability sucks. Need to focus on how we can check and record speed test (speaker was in the weeds). Takeaway: Go to the map and record your location. Make it more accurate.
10:00 Sunne McPeak, CEO, CA Emerging Technology Fund. First requirement: leadership. CETF goal of 98% access and 80% adoption. Annual report available to document progress. Need to document areas served. Again, do the making survey. Every student should have a computing device that they use in the classroom and that they can take home. Taxpayers must insist to their officials that they net these goals. Use every opportunity to solve a problem to include broadband. Very engaging speaker.
10:45 Mike Stewart, CVIN Vast Network. Fiber installation in our area is hard. Sometimes a little as 100′ a day. Commercial services available by June. No residential services from Vast, relying on local ISPs. Small area through Jamestown all that’s left to complete our ring. Service available up to 10gb. All services are Ethernet and underground.
11:00 ISP panel. Tim Hildabrand, HStar, building fixed wireless systems (WISP).
Tim Holden, Sierra Nevada Communication. Delivering fiber to home.
Ben Hewlitt, MLI. 20 years delivering Internet. Working to fill the holes. Different business model from big companies. Support local providers.
Frank Leschinsky, Volcano Communication. ROI of broadband.
Dan Rule, SierraTel. Over 400 miles of buried fiber. Primary service is DSL
Dan Richardson, Calaveras Telephone. Benefits of fiber. Fiber to about 900 homes.
11:30 Catherine Sandoval, CPUC Commissioner. Touring rural CA for public participation. All telephone service pays into fund. Should other services be paying in? In public hearings, everyone asking for more broadband. Cell service is not the answer. biggest barrier to distance learning is connections at the homes of students and teachers. Ag is also becoming more technology dependent. Telecom/water nexus. Mesh networks can extend to fields. There are costs to society when we don’t have access to broadband. Greenhouse gas emissions, education, health. To apply money, CPUC needs documented evidence of underserved areas and speeds.
12:35 Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County Board Chair. New digital devide is capacity. How can we force the large ISPs to increase capacity? General approval from County board. Specifics come from staff. What they did: Allow leases on County assets. Allow installation on county rights of way. Dig once ordinance. Broadband master plan adopted by Board.