The Battle is On for Better Internet Access in California

We’re deep in the midst of the Spiral gigabit project network design in Service Area A; all in preparation for permitting and then construction. We have also been actively working to make sure that people and state legislators know how desperately our rural areas need faster reliable internet access.

In Sacramento, AB1665 is the bill that will continue funding the California Advanced Services Fund, the source of Spiral’s $16.2M grant. Last year, the telco and cable lobbyists stopped a similar bill dead in its tracks. This year, they are outright lying to the legislators; making sure money doesn’t go to smaller providers that have more incentive to build fiber optic network in communities. We have been actively lobbying with the facts, hoping to result in legislation that will enable internet for all.

Michael Anderson, Spiral’s CIO, was recently interviewed by Christopher Mitchell of MuniNetworks.org in Minnesota. Listen to the podcast. He provides an excellent overview of the problems we are facing in California.

John Paul, Spiral’s CEO, was also recently interviewed for an article on rural broadband and agriculture that appears in the September issue of Comstock’s magazine. You’ll want to read The Long Reach: As smart technology grows more essential to modern ag, farmers languish in dead zones.

As a web-teaser for the article, he was asked to answer a few question about changes in the internet industry in rural California. His apparently controversial  (although accurate) answers prompted the Comstock’s editor to request a statement from AT&T. Read Back and Forward: John Paul on the Future of Rural-Access Internet to see AT&T’s regional spokesman’s confusing non-response. Sigh. The telco and cable companies continue to spread misinformation in order to maintain their aging monopolies.

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The Big Lie

The big telcos (telephone companies) and cable companies have become THE impediment for deployment of required ultra-fast gigabit internet access networks. As well as squashing any competition that comes up against their aging monopolies. Watch this video to see what’s being propagated across the country. When Spiral soon breaks ground, we’ll be one of the few communities that will be future-ready.

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Spiral’s Gigabit Fiber Optic Project On Target

There is a lot that goes on in the background before one starts to build something as massive as a new state-of-the-art all-underground 100% fiber optic internet network. Especially one that will maintain its “state-of-the-art” status for 50 to 100 years. And put western Nevada County on the national “A” list of communities having gigabit internet connections.

Our environmental report for the 26-square mile first phase project, was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission’s five Commissioners on May 11 of this year. This enabled us to move forward with our network design, and then county permitting. We are working with CalTrans along the Hwy 174 corridor, as they will be constructing a curve realignment along a small portion of that road in 2019. They have assured us that this future work will not delay our project at all. We are collaborating closely with Siteline Architecture, as they design and then oversee the build out for the interior of our new office space in the Nevada City Tech Center. 

We recently hired Malvina Hansen Zeischegg as our new Marketing Coordinator. She is working closely with Nick Katzman, our Neighborhood Coordinator, to make sure that every household and business in the first phase of our project (Service Area A) signs up for service. If you have any questions about our project, or future phases, just call and ask for one of them. Remember, you can sign up or “map yourself” for future phases by going to our fiber website.

We have been actively working with our Assemblymember Brian Dahle so that AB1665, which provides for $330M in continued funding of the California Advanced Services Fund (the source of our $16.2M grant), is fair and available in our rural areas. Let’s just say that the incumbent telephone and cable companies lobbyists are hard at work making sure they have no competition from independent gigabit fiber optic internet network providers like Spiral.

We are also very busy gathering data to disprove that Comcast actually serves an area which originally was part of our first phase. In a last minute power grab, that cable company claimed service in an area that has at maximum 30% coverage. No surprise, they lied. Now we have the facts to prove it. And are working hard to get it back. We will.

We are also about to start work on our new website. Yes, we’re embarrassed by our 10-year old dinosaur. And we know you’ll be impressed by our new 21st century “look” coming later this year.

Of course, the question we are asked over and over is “when do you start construction?” It is a bit of a moving target. Late summer seems realistic. However, this will be the place where we’ll announce when we hit the ground running, so to speak.

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