[CalFiber] Notes from Mar 12 Friday call

Hayley Tsukayama hayleyt at eff.org
Fri Mar 19 16:38:23 PDT 2021

Hi folks,
Just sharing the ballot measure material I have on hand, which mirrors what Chris Mitchell had dropped in chat:

-https://bolderadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Rules_of_the_Game_paywall.pdf specifically pp 14 and 15
                Specifically: “While ballot measures, such as bond measures, ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments, and referenda, are voted on at the ballot box, federal tax law treats them as legislation. Therefore, it is lobbying limits that apply, not the electioneering prohibition.”

  *   And also, what Chris dropped in: https://bolderadvocacy.org/resource-library/tools-for-effective-advocacy/toolkits/ballot-measures-toolkit/501c3-public-charities-and-ballot-measures/

From: CalFiber <calfiber-bounces+hayleyt=eff.org at lists.eff.org> on behalf of Tracy Rosenberg <tracy at media-alliance.org>
Date: Friday, March 19, 2021 at 4:05 PM
To: Stephen Blum <steveblum at tellusventure.com>
Cc: "calfiber at lists.eff.org" <calfiber at lists.eff.org>
Subject: Re: [CalFiber] Notes from Mar 12 Friday call

Hi all,

With apologies for posting when I rarely attend meetings (the nerve) :)

I'm inclined to agree with Steve re: ministerial administration.

On the Caballero franchising bill: Some language was submitted to Caballero's office today re: requiring HD transmission for PEG programming in the context of SB 28. No word yet on whether they'll incorporate, but if they do, this would be a good thing and support from this group would be great. Among other issues, HD downgraded to SB renders closed captioning unreadable which is a big deal for the hearing-impaired and even more so in COVID times. And generally, public interest content should not be subject to degraded delivery.

The last wording on SB 28l that I saw did specifically grant authority with regard to a cableco's failure to deliver on broadband including public hearings and investigations up to audits if the cableco accepts a broadband grant from the commission. What it doesn't do is provide the same level of oversight regarding the provision of cable services themselves. But the universe of franchisees that offer one service and not the other, or who would decline to participate in a broadband grant program of the scale that is looking likely, may be fairly small,.

- Tracy

On Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 5:04 PM Stephen Blum <steveblum at tellusventure.com<mailto:steveblum at tellusventure.com>> wrote:
The problem with making the Department of Technology the grant making (or in any way a broadband development) agency is that IT people are consumers of broadband, not producers. It would be like putting bus drivers in charge of Caltrans. They'll get the resources they need, because that's what they're paid to do, but they have no experience in or mandate to provide services to the public. Last year's so called broadband plan is Exhibit A: they relied on cable and other lobbyists to write it for them. What we got was largely useless.

Caltrans or DWR, despite their sins, would be a better choice. They build public facing infrastructure for a living. But I think the best way is to make it a purely financial resource, like other bonds, and let financial people run it ministerially for local policy makers.

Steve Blum
Tellus Venture Associates
U.S. +1-831-582-0700
N.Z. +64-21-116-0002
steveblum at tellusventure.com<mailto:steveblum at tellusventure.com>

On Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 4:23 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org<mailto:ernesto at eff.org>> wrote:
Side note, I wrote this piece summarizing the various broadband pieces moving in Sacramento this year

  1.  Updates from Sacramento (AB 14/SB 4 discussion)

The bills are coming closer together and CAC, Sen. Gonzalez, and the Governor’s team will have to hash out the final edges of an agreement. Once the two bills are essentially merged, support should be given to both bills.

  1.  Updates from DC (House broadband infrastructure package), also related a bipartisan Senate endorsement of a 100/100 mbps standard for broadband (federal definition is 25/3) including Joe Manchin who is often seen as the hardest to pin down Senator on the Democratic side https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=2C769043-69ED-426B-B30A-57981A4BA333).

Legislation will be heading towards the larger infrastructure effort and will overlap a lot with the work we’re doing here in Sacramento. Also the federal standard will likely be updated this year by Biden’s new FCC Chair, there is a lot of pushing for 100/100 low latency as the standard.

One thing to flag about the way the Democrats are going to approach passing a massive infrastructure bill if they receive no GOP support is the means to bypass the Senate filibuster prohibits policy, which means this might become a giant pot of broadband money given to the Executive branch who will decide the standards and goals of the program.

  1.  Updates on AB 34 (ballot initiative on broadband)

This bill still hasn’t been made public but its basically looking like a very good bill based on initial feedback. Essentially the state would take on $8 billion in debt to finance a grant program that will favor open access fiber. Would use the Department of Technology as the grant making agency, which is concerning in that they have no experience in that space, and likely was an ask from cable who want to avoid having the regulator in charge of making these decisions.

  1.  Anything else?

Caballero franchise bill – EFF will have a research memo published soon talking about local franchise power for major cities and how it has benefited New York City. The same will be true for LA, SF, Oakland and other major CA cities. However, concerns were raised about the bargaining power of rural townships is much more limited and they probably need the state to retain authority over the franchising both from a resources and a negotiating power perspective. Sean McLaughlin noted that the CPUC doesn’t have clear authority to audit and regulate franchise holders who fail to meet the requirements of the license to sell broadband in California.

Line Extension Program – CPUC has been doing some rethinking about it, Ernesto suggested seeing if there is room to remake the program to assist citizens connect to their own fiber. Chris Mitchell did a long interview on this topic (https://muninetworks.org/content/expanding-high-speed-internet-access-america-through-fiber-condominiums). If there are any changes to the program, it’ll come from the Governor’s office into the SB 4 discussion.

Ernesto Omar Falcon
Senior Legislative Counsel
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
Cell: 202 716 0770

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Tracy Rosenberg
Executive Director
Media Alliance
2830 20th Street Suite 201
San Francisco, CA 94110
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Encrypted email at tracy.rosenberg at protonmail.com<mailto:tracy.rosenberg at protonmail.com>
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