The second Regional Broadband Workshop, hosted by the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium, took place in Palmdale April 26. Attendees from Mammoth Lakes to San Francisco to Los Angeles represented various concerns in the effort to bring the digital age to the Eastern Sierra region. Agencies represented included the California Public Utilities Commission, Inyo, Mono and Kern counties, Kern River Valley Revitalization, United States Department of Agriculture, and various utilities, tribal organizations and Internet service providers.
A previous workshop had been hosted last August in Mammoth Lakes. Highlights of the April 26 conference include:
Robert Osborn of the CPUC demonstrated a new interactive map the PUC has come out with, showing broadband coverage in tiers, or different levels, by color. Of particular note are three tiers, identified as “served”, “unserved”, and “underserved” parts of California. Any broadband service that is measured at 6 mbps or less is considered to be unserved or underserved.
Mr. Osborn demonstrated how the map works. By way of example, he typed in an Onyx address, and the map revealed Onyx to be an “unserved” area. (The map cannot be accessed via dial-up modems and is not active once downloaded or saved to a computer hard drive.)
The URL for this map, which should be active by the first week in May: http://126.96.36.199/cpucflex/BBDemo Larry Ortega, representing One Million NIU (New Internet Users), spoke on the need for expanded broadband capabilities. He cited as example a video of a cyber bully incident that took place in Whittier and which had been recorded on a cell phone and posted on the Internet. As a result, it was turned over to the school’s principal and the bully was able to be apprehended.
Christine Nutting, Project Director for the San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium, spoke on the specific need for Telehealth and Telemedicine technologies in the digital age. At present, the San Joaquin Valley will receive $150,000 per year for the next three years to provide broadband capabilities to unserved and underserved SJV communities. (Eastern Kern County is not part of this campaign.)
Mediacom: Richard Rowe distributed copies of an email from Mediacom’s Tomas Larsen indicating Caltrans wants Mediacom to provide a “detailed constraints map” for the fiber cable needed to complete broadband connections along SLR 178 between Onyx and Inyokern. Mediacom’s position is that until they can produce such a map, which would cost Mediacom over $200K, there’s nothing they can do.
Digital 395: In contrast to Mediacom's meager efforts, engineering from Barstow to Reno is now complete. Equipment bids are completed, vendors secured and contracts awarded. Construction in Nevada is scheduled to begin mid-May of 2012. California will follow, as final needed permitting is acquired. Staff is working to speed up the few remaining issues with the USFS, CDFG and NTIA so construction can commence.
Inland Empire: Communities in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties have formed the Inland Empire Regional Broadband Consortium, effective, April, 2012.
This was the second such progressive workshop in the past twelve months. It was well-attended and well hosted, including breakfast followed by a wonderful hot lunch.
Jason Houston firstname.lastname@example.org
Example of CPUC Interactive Broadband Map mentioned above