[CalFiber] SB1130 2020 Post-Mortem

Sean McLaughlin sean at accesshumboldt.net
Thu Sep 3 10:31:21 PDT 2020

Thanks Paul.

We have been interested in this approach for a long time!

If we hold our broadband case to the same standard for GHG emission
reduction - I don't see how green allies will object.

But I am not sure we have the data to show the GHG reductions by providing
broadband access at the census block - esp. for rural, looking at travel
miles saved .. I think we'd have a strong case.

Sean Taketa McLaughlin
Executive Director
Access Humboldt
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On Thu, Sep 3, 2020 at 10:21 AM Paul Goodman <paulg at greenlining.org> wrote:

> I've been thinking about the funding issue, and I'm increasingly confident
> that we can successfully argue that broadband deployment leads to decreased
> greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and that broadband projects can therefore
> be financed out of California's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. With the
> exception of this year, California has funded the GGRF ~1.5
> billion annually.  An additional benefit of this funding is that there's a
> requirement that 25% of the funds provide benefit to disinvested
> communities, and that 10 percent of the funds provide investment *in *disinvested
> communities.
> I've been putting together an outline for a white paper/article explaining
> my reasoning, and I think it's promising. However, I have some reservations
> about this as a strategy.  First, we'd be robbing Peter to pay
> Paul--broadband investment should come from new revenue resources, not by
> taking it from the existing GHGF.  Additionally, this strategy will likely
> cause an outcry from enviro groups, so that is definitely part of the
> calculus.
> I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this.
> On Thu, Sep 3, 2020 at 9:15 AM Stephen Blum <steveblum at tellusventure.com>
> wrote:
>> I wrote a three-part blog post about available CASF money, and also
>> followed the RDOF/CASF topic. Links are below.
>> tl/dr:
>> CPUC is authorised to collect up to $330 million for CASF, through 2022
>> ($66 million/ year x 5 years). The money comes from a tax on in-state
>> telephone calls, which is a declining source of revenue. The CPUC set the
>> rate at 0.56%, beginning in 2018.
>> Some of that goes to adoption, public housing and consortia funding. An
>> even bigger bite goes to administrative overhead.
>> Revenue collection has fallen short and is projected to drop to $41
>> million in 2020, and to $35 million in 2021 and 2022. On that basis, there
>> is something like $145 million left in the infrastructure fund (that's my
>> estimate, the CPUC's is in the same ballpark). That's versus $533 million
>> in pending projects.
>> On top of that, per legislative authorisation earlier in the summer, the
>> CPUC plans to offer CASF money to RDOF applicants. They haven't said how,
>> though.
>> The CPUC is allowed to make up the shortfall, but to do so it would have
>> to at least double and, maybe, quadruple the 0.56% tax rate. Even then,
>> there wouldn't be much, if anything, left for next year, assuming most
>> pending projects are viable and staff gets going on the RDOF backfill.
>> CASF is effectively out of money, at least for infrastructure projects.
>> In the past, CASF funding bills were sponsored by CETF, which meant that
>> AT&T, CCTA and Frontier got to write the rules. That's why we have 6 down/1
>> up as our standard. The revenue source CASF relies on – in-state phone
>> calls – is drying up. That was well known when SB 1130 was introduced. The
>> idea was to break the cycle by getting the strategy right, then deal with
>> the funding next year.
>> Part 1: California’s broadband upgrade fund could lose $120 million,
>> after senate committee caps subsidy bill
>> <https://www.tellusventure.com/blog/californias-broadband-upgrade-fund-could-fall-by-more-than-100-million-after-state-senate-committee-clamps-subsidy-bill/>
>> Part 2: California broadband subsidy fund dwindles to less than a third
>> needed for pending projects
>> <https://www.tellusventure.com/blog/california-broadband-subsidy-fund-dwindles-to-less-than-a-third-needed-for-pending-projects/>
>> Part 3: Nearly all broadband subsidy proposals could survive California's
>> chopping block. Nearly
>> <https://www.tellusventure.com/blog/nearly-all-broadband-subsidy-proposals-could-survive-californias-chopping-block-nearly/>
>> CPUC adds California money to federal broadband subsidy bids. If
>> <https://www.tellusventure.com/blog/cpuc-adds-california-money-to-federal-broadband-subsidy-bids-if/>
>> Steve Blum
>> Tellus Venture Associates
>> U.S. +1-831-582-0700
>> N.Z. +64-21-116-0002
>> steveblum at tellusventure.com
>> On Thu, Sep 3, 2020 at 8:13 AM Dane Jasper <dane.jasper at sonic.com> wrote:
>>> > One reason given was that SB1130 existed as an unfunded mandate,
>>> according to Rendon. Despite the fact that the CASF is already funded via
>>> fees assessed on our monthly ISP bills, Rendon wanted an additional funding
>>> mechanism attached to the bill. Are CASF taxes set to sunset in the next
>>> few years? This might've been what he's referencing. Would be nice to have
>>> a ready to go talking point to rebut this. It may already be out there, I'm
>>> just unaware of it.
>>> The CASF is funded by a surcharge on telecommunications - this means
>>> primarily voice telephone service. It's not an ISP surcharge, there
>>> are no taxes or surcharges on internet access in California.
>>> I don't quite see how it could be characterized as "unfunded", given
>>> the CASF's funding mechanism. I'm not totally on top of the current
>>> state of it, but I did review this page:
>>> https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=6442457932
>>> ...which seems to lead to the legislation that created the funding
>>> mechanisms. Maybe that $250M "cap" is headed toward sunset? I dunno -
>>> but I do know we're charging a fee to every voice customer every month
>>> and remitting that the CPUC, so there's certainly funds going
>>> somewhere for something!   ;)
>>> --
>>> Dane Jasper
>>> CEO
>>> 707-237-6205
>>> dane.jasper at sonic.com
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