Step 1 – How we obtain CASF grants.
“The CPUC develops and implements policies for the telecommunications industry, to include ensuring fair, affordable universal access to necessary services; developing clear rules of the game and regulatory tools to allow flexibility without compromising due process; removing barriers that prevent a fully competitive market; and reducing or eliminating burdensome regulation.” –California Public Utilities Commission
In order for Race Telecommunications to bring fiber internet to areas of California that are deemed unserved or underserved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), we must first go through the grant process as specified by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Unserved areas are defined as territories not currently served by any form of wireline or wireless facilities-based broadband, meaning that internet connectivity is available only through dial-up service. Underserved areas are outlined as having access to broadband internet services, but said advertised services do not meet the state requirements of at least 6 mbps download, 1.5 mbps of upload, capabilities. In the entire state of California, 67% has been deemed unserved or underserved through the above-mentioned guidelines. As such, the CASF has been created to rectify this by promoting the distribution of high-quality advanced communications services to Californians.
The CASF was authorized on December 20, 2007 by the CPUC to provide grants in an effort to bridge the “digital divide” across the state of California. Funding eligibility for said grants is based on guidelines established by the state of California. Eligibility for these grants requires applicants to qualify as a “telephone corporation”, establish a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), operate as a wireless carrier registered with the CPUC, and/or operate as a non-telephone corporation. Race Telecommunications qualifies for CASF grants as a “telephone corporation” with a CPCN. We can also be referenced as a Licensed Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC). It is by meeting these qualifications that Race has the privilege of being approved for CASF grants for projects like Gigafy Occidental. This grant, approved in August, 2016, awarded Race funding for the deployment of a last-mile fiber network that is spread over a 4.2 square mile area in Occidental, located in Sonoma County.
The process for applying for these funds is intensive. As of June 26, 2014 the CASF established application timelines for applicants, local government agencies, and non-telephone corporations.
All in all, it is a long path between identifying in-need areas of California, applying for the CASF grants to provide telecom services to these regions, and reaching a final approval.
Not to mention, being approved is just the first step for Race!