CSAC Bulletin Article

CPUC Extends Comment Deadline on Broadband Network Location, Capacity, and Affordability to September 3rd

August 27, 2021

An Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a ruling late last week extending the deadline for formal parties to submit opening comments on the statewide middle-mile broadband network to Friday, September 3. The ruling was issued in response to a request from the California Cable & Telecommunication Association. The ruling also extends the deadline for reply comments to Tuesday, September 21.

Last week, CSAC and CPUC staff held an outreach briefing on middle-mile locations, the types of feedback CPUC is requesting, and instructions for how to submit public comments. CSAC is in the process of registering as a formal party and plans to submit comments before the deadline on September 3. 

Individual members of the public are still encouraged to file informal comments using the public comment portal. Comments from the public may be filed at any time, and there is no comment deadline. Instructions for submitting public comments and learning more about how to participate can be found at the CPUC’s website.

Earlier this month, the CPUC issued a ruling requesting comment to collect recommendations for key aspects of a statewide middle-mile broadband network. SB 156, Signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last month, includes $3.25 billion for the creation of a statewide open-access middle-mile network, which will be owned by the state and built along much of the state’s highway system. This network will be available to all internet providers on non-discriminatory terms, making it faster and cheaper for new and existing providers to build last-mile infrastructure to homes and businesses with little or no broadband access. The middle-mile network can also be directly available to anchor institutions along its route.

While the CPUC has already developed a preliminary map for where middle-mile network fiber will be laid, they have asked for comments from stakeholders and the public for suggestions before finalizing the plan. This gives counties an opportunity to influence whether the network passes by or connects to health care facilities, schools, public safety operations, government offices, and other important community anchor institutions. The Commission is also calling for input related to existing infrastructure, priority areas, affordability, long-term leases, interconnection, and network route capacity.

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