California Advanced Services Fund Background and History

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 Public Utility 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.

*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.

On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown signed AB 1665, which amends Pub. Util. Code Sections 281 and 914.7 to extend the date of the CASF goal from 2015 to 2022 and modify the goal to approve funding for broadband infrastructure projects that will provide broadband access to no less than 98 percent of California households in each consortia region, as identified by the commission on or before January 1, 2017. AB 1665 revises eligibility requirements for Broadband Infrastructure Account and creates a Right of First Refusal process and a Line Extension program. It also creates the Broadband Adoption Account and eliminates the Loan Account. 

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