The Commission authorized the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) on December 20, 2007, by adopting D.07-12-054 in accordance with Public Utilities (P.U.) Code § 701. The CASF provides grants to “telephone corporations” as defined under P.U. Code § 234 to bridge the “digital divide” in unserved and underserved areas in the state. With an initial funding of $100 million, the CASF supports projects that will a) provide broadband services to areas currently without broadband access and b) build out facilities in underserved areas, if funds are still available.
The Commission adopted the CASF application requirements, timelines, and scoring criteria for parties to qualify for broadband project funding in Resolution T-17143 issued on June 12, 2008. The Legislature reaffirmed the Commission’s creation of the CASF program in Senate Bill (SB) 1193, which Governor Schwarzenegger signed on September 27, 2008, and codified the program as P.U. Code § 281.
On September 25, 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1040 (Chapter 317, Stats 2010), which provided an additional $125 million, allocated to the following CASF accounts: $100 million to the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, $10 million to the Rural and Regional Urban Consortia Account, and $15 million to the Broadband Infrastructure Loan Account.
To implement the provisions of SB 1040 and improve the program based on CASF’s three year implementation experience, the Commission opened an Order Instituting Rulemaking (R.10-12-008) on December 16, 2010.
On June 28, 2011, the Commission approved D.11-06-038 to implement the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia grant program to help fund activities promoting broadband deployment, access, and adoption with a budget of $10 million.
On February 1, 2012 the Commission approved D.12-02-015. Key provisions of the Decision include:
- A new maximum CASF grant award of 70 percent of project costs for unserved areas and 60 percent for underserved areas;
- A new definition of an underserved area, “where broadband is available, but no wireline or wireless facilities-based provider offers service at advertised speeds of at least 6 mbps download and 1.5 mbps upload;” and
- A new Revolving Loan Program to provide supplemental financing for projects also applying for CASF grant funding (up to 20% of projects costs, with a maximum of $500,000), utilizing the same project and applicant eligibility requirements as the Infrastructure Grant Program.
Please note corrections to D.12-02-015: D.12-03-031 was approved by the Commission on March 12, 2012. It corrects non-substantive changes in Attachment B of D.12-02-015. The amended Attachment B can be found here.
Under Resolution T-17362, application deadlines for the CASF Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program and the Revolving Loan Program (contingent on the implementation of the Loan Program) are:
1. October 1, 2012, for unserved areas;
2. February 1, 2013, for underserved areas not previously funded by the CASF and hybrid projects that cover both unserved and underserved areas; and,
3. A date to be determined for projects in underserved areas where the existing broadband infrastructure was partially funded by a CASF grant.
The CASF is funded by a surcharge rate on revenues collected by telecommunications carriers from end-users for intrastate telecommunications services. On January 1, 2008, the Commission adopted a surcharge rate of 0.25% to fund the program. On December 17, 2009, the Commission approved Resolution T-17248 which reduced the CASF surcharge from 0.25% to 0.00% effective January 1, 2010. To collect the additional funds authorized by SB 1040, the Commission issued Resolution T-17343 on September 22, 2011, which revises the surcharge from 0.0% to 0.14% effective November 1, 2011. The Commission approved Resolution T-17386 on February 13th, 2013, increasing the surcharge rate from 0.14% to 0.164% effective April 1, 2013.
A hard copy of Commission decisions/orders can be obtained for a fee by calling the Commission’s Central Files Section at 415-703-2045. Questions about this program should be directed to one of the following:
February 16, 2012: CPUC Approves Consortia Grants To Increase Broadband Adoption
On November 1, 2012, the Commission issued Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) 12-10-012, which proposes to extend CASF applicant eligibility to facility-based broadband service providers that hold neither a CPCN nor WIR. The OIR further proposes to extend CASF eligibility to any commercial provider of broadband access or any nonprofit entity, including government entities or community anchor institutions that elect to provide facilities based broadband service. Because such a change cannot be accomplished without legislative action, the Commission intends to seek such legislation in the near future and initiated this rulemaking in anticipation of that effort.
Individuals wishing to comment on this proceeding must use the official service list and meet the following deadlines:
- A person or entity must notify the Commission’s Process Office by November 21, 2012 to request to be added to the official service list;
- Opening Comments must be filed by December 3, 2012; and
- Reply Comments must be filed by December 18, 2012.