CPUC Approves Environmental Review for Project To Bring Broadband to Rural California To Serve Tribes and Others
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its ongoing commitment to help the state bridge the digital divide, today approved the environmental review and start of construction for a 300-mile fiber optic project in Northern California that includes a range of public benefits for anchor institutions and communities with insufficient broadband, and will provide fiber optic infrastructure for 30 years to bring broadband to nine tribes.
The California Environmental Quality Act review approved today for Vero Fiber Network LLC’s Digital 299 project will create a fiber optic network between Eureka and Redding on Highway 299 that will provide high quality, open access middle mile service to anchor institutions and last mile providers along the route from the Samoa Peninsula to Cottonwood, and rights of use for 20 years with a 10-year renewal option to nine tribes.
Other project benefits include:
- Deployment of broadband internet infrastructure in underserved areas: Vero will provide critical middle-mile fiber infrastructure that will facilitate last-mile service and improved public services to the 2,400 square miles of rural Northern California between Redding and the California coast, encompassing portions of Humboldt, Shasta, and Trinity Counties that have been historically underserved.
- Open access to local providers for last mile services: Vero will offer fiber, based on availability, on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms to local providers to facilitate last mile service, and will also serve public service entities (such as education, fire, police, health care, and government) to facilitate public services.
- Service to anchor institutions: Vero will make good-faith efforts to place access points to enable service to public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
- Nine tribes will receive up to two fibers at no cost for 20 years: For 20 years, with a 10-year renewal option, tribes will receive up to two fiber strands to bring broadband to use for their internal purposes and to directly provide communication services to tribal members.
"I'm excited to support today's decision that authorizes the start of construction for Vero Network's Digital 299 Project in Humboldt, Shasta, and Trinity Counties," said Commissioner Darcie L. Houck. "This project is many years in the making and will bring open access middle mile to rural county and tribal communities in Northern California. We're grateful to Vero Networks for stepping up to see this project completed and for committing to delivering public benefits to these communities."
The proposal voted on is available at docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M498/K305/498305297.PDF.
More information on the CPUC’s other efforts in broadband implementation for California is available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/industries-and-topics/internet-and-phone/broadband-implementation-for-california
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.