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RECAP: Infrastructure Deployment Task Force Convening | Aug. 25, 2021

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Infrastructure Deployment Task Force Objective

Identifying barriers and opportunities to complete high-quality broadband infrastructure deployment to all residents and businesses, especially in unserved and underserved communities



Summary

The Infrastructure Task Force held its fourth meeting on Aug. 25, 2021, and included representatives from multiple sectors interested in resolving the digital divide in the Los Angeles County region. Taskforce members learned that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the LA DEAL application to serve as the regional consortium. The approval includes a $300,000 grant to facilitate the deployment of broadband services to assist infrastructure applicants, to collaborate with the Commission to engage regional Consortia, local officials, ISPs, stakeholders, and consumers in target areas. The task force briefed on the CPUC’s SB156 proceedings related to the middle mile deployment that calls for $6 Billion of investment to deploy the middle mile across the state. This includes a one-billion allocation for urban regions to address underserved and unserved infrastructure needs. Lastly, the CPUC accepts public comment as part of its rulemaking process to inform the parameters for the one-time allocation of $6 billion. The task force engaged in an in-depth discussion about the public comment period.


Resources


Discussion

  • The CPUC public comment deadline was extended by one week. The 110/101 Freeway corridor is primary because by leaving it out, you exclude the areas identified in the ASF’s, which are underserved principally. The 19 percent of people who do not have a broadband subscription in Los Angeles reside in this region and will continue to be excluded based on the current maps.

  • The middle-mile has the flexibility to determine what counts, which can include adoption rates and more—advocate for the questions they should be asking for urban areas versus rural ones. A subset of this is using numbers versus percentages.

  • The understanding from the mapping is that the legend is going after households and the shared number of unserved households, not the relative portion of homes that are underserved within a community. Large communities are getting more attention, versus smaller ones are being ignored in this mapping. Most people filing for party status will be commenting on this issue and changing the algorithm.

  • In Los Angeles, we have small communities such as the City of Vernon, and it will be necessary for these regions in need to be heard.

  • The CPUC has the data, and people do not understand why that data is being ignored or not used the way it should be for this exercise. Everyone assumed this would be the case leading up to this mapping, but that is not the case.

  • Some ISPs have expressed concern about overbuilding and the competition it will make. The goal is to see an increase in competition, and established providers will have a competitive advantage.

  • What factors should be anticipated from services and location? The number of ISPs limits Lynwood residents eligible to sign up, and often families are locked into an exclusive contract. How does this get operationalized from a formula perspective? Will this translate to more affordable options for our families?

  • Putting the last mile where it is needed is the most essential. The proceeding is how the PUC should judge the affordability of access to the middle mile. Talks about the service to the end-user, but the PUC is trying to get comments on affordable access to the middle-mile. They might be trying to understand that — San Francisco has a significant public open-access network through Sonic and Monkey Brains that provide high-quality and low-cost internet services.


Case Study


Monkey Brains built out a public open-access middle-mile network and built out the last mile network that costs users $10.00 per month or less (link to information accessible in the resource section listed above)



The Infrastructure Deployment Task Force meets virtually monthly and includes health, nonprofit, education, business, city municipalities, and internet service providers. To learn more, visit: ladeal.org/events.


Meeting #5 is scheduled for Sept. 29, 2021.





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