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California Advanced Services Fund (CASF)

Overview

California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) promotes deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians.  

Funding is allocated to four CASF accounts (please go to the linked page for a description of the account):

Background

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.

 

Recent Legislation

On November 1, 2012, the Commission issued Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) 12-10-012, which proposed to extend CASF applicant eligibility to facility-based broadband service providers that hold neither a CPCN nor WIR. The OIR further proposed 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.

The OIR acknowledged that any change in eligibility requirements was contingent upon legislative action because these requirements are defined in statute. During the 2013-2014 Legislative Session, the Legislature passed SB 740 to expand eligibility. The legislation requires that the Commission give priority to last mile projects serving unserved households, that newly eligible non-CPCN/ WIR holders must provide a last mile connection to an unserved household, that the CPUC must give existing providers the opportunity to upgrade their networks in areas serving underserved households before funds are awarded to a new provider, and that local governments may apply for funds only if its project provides a connection to an unserved household or business and no other eligible entity has applied.

Additionally, during the 2013-2014 Legislative Session, the Legislature passed AB 1299. AB 1299 created an additional account under the CASF called the Broadband Public Housing Account to support projects to deploy local area networks and to increase adoption rates in publicly supported housing communities. These efforts will be funded through $20 million from the CASF Broadband Infrastructure Account and $5 million from the Revolving Loan Account, respectively.

 

Implementation

On February 27, 2014, the Commission approved D14-02-018 which amends the eligibility rules for the CASF Program according to the definition of eligibility in SB 740. It gives the Commission the authority to enforce the terms and conditions of the grant awards and to impose penalties under P.U. Code §§ 2111 and 2108

Resolution T-17443 (approved June 26, 2014) implements new timelines for applicants to CASF, including how and when local government agencies and non-telephone corporations may apply pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 740. It also describes how existing providers may exercise their right of first refusal as provided under SB 740. In addition, this Resolution lists areas in California that various CASF-funded regional consortia groups and state agencies have identified as priorities for broadband infrastructure deployment.

A decision implementing the provisions of AB 1299 is pending.

 

FUNDING

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.  The Commission approved Resolution T-17434 on February 27th, 2014, increasing the surcharge rate from 0.164% to 0.464% effective April 1, 2014.

 

CONTACT

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:

CASF Distribution List

CASF applicants must submit their project summaries to a distribution list maintained by Communications Division staff.

  

Last Modified: 11/8/2014


 
 
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