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ALJ/MP1/lil Date of Issuance 6/28/2011
Decision 11-06-038 June 23, 2011
BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Order Instituting Rulemaking to Consider Modifications to the California Advanced Services Fund Including Those Necessary to Implement Loan Program and Other Provisions of Recent Legislation.
(Filed December 16, 2010)
DECISION IMPLEMENTING BROADBAND CONSORTIA GRANT
In this decision, we take another important step to promote the widespread availability of high-speed broadband advanced communications services through the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program. The CASF is designed to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians that will promote economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies.1 Specifically, we implement herein provisions of Senate Bill (SB) 1040 relating to the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account (Consortia program). Through the Consortia program, we promote more widespread availability of advanced communications services for all Californians by fostering increased broadband deployment and adoption.2
As previously noted in D.07-12-054, ubiquitous deployment of broadband is widely regarded as holding tremendous opportunities for consumers, technology providers, and content providers. These various public sectors will thus benefit from the Consortia grant program as funded activities lead to greater acceptance, adoption and deployment of broadband services within areas of California that are underserved or not served at all. The Consortia funding program will advance universal service policies aimed at bridging the "digital divide" as articulated in Pub. Util. Code § 709(c) and (d).
The Commission will administer the Consortia program, as set forth in SB 1040, through the application filing process outlined in this decision. Grants will be awarded to only one Regional Consortium per geographic region3 to avoid duplication. The Commission, itself, will not organize Consortia but will select eligible Consortia among those submitting applications, and award grants by Commission resolution based on designated criteria set forth herein. It will be the responsibility of each Consortium applicant to assemble its own membership and to delineate its geographical region of responsibility. The Commission will approve Consortia Grant Account funding based upon various eligibility factors, as detailed below. The Commission will retain continuing oversight of grant disbursements to ensure that funds are spent on authorized functions that meet set objectives and timelines specified in grantees' applications.
To assist prospective applicants for Consortia grants in preparing their requests in a manner that meets Commission requirements, we have provided a series of sample attachments at the end of this decision that illustrate various key informational requirements and documents that must be properly completed with the application in order to be considered for approval. The purpose and contents of each of these forms and information requirements is discussed in detail below. The attachments provided at the end of this decision are summarized as follows:
A. Action Plan and Work Plan Contents
B. Sample of Action Plan Format
C. Sample of Work Plan Format
D. Requested Budget
E. Affidavit Form
F. CASF Consortia Application Checklist
G. Consortium Scoring Criteria
H. Consent Form
I. Sample of Quarterly Report Format
1 See California Pub. Util Code Sec. 281. The CASF was first established in Decision (D.) 07-12-054.
2 Broadband refers to the width of frequency bands used to transmit data or voice communications over the Internet. Depending on the width of the frequency band, information can be sent on many different frequencies or channels with broadband concurrently, allowing for advanced services, including video, to be transmitted at much faster speeds than would otherwise be available over a dial-up telephone connection to the Internet.
3 A "geographic region" as used here means a regional area within California that consists of cities, counties, and/or unincorporated areas that have united to form a network of leaders representing public, non-profit, and/or for-profit entities that share common goals and objectives regarding broadband deployment and adoption. We define a "Regional Consortium" as a network of leaders in a geographic region that represents public, non-profit, and/or for-profit entities that share common goals and objectives.