The State of California, via California Public Utilities Commission resolution T-17674, has approved funding for award-winning local ISP Cruzio Internet to build fiber optic broadband infrastructure to seven underserved mobile home parks in Santa Cruz County.
The project — Equal Access Santa Cruz — is part of Cruzio’s broader Santa Cruz Fiber Project which seeks to bring locally built and operated fiber optic infrastructure to all of Santa Cruz County. This project is a big step in bridging the digital divide and equalizing access to the internet in areas that have long been neglected by big corporations.
When and how was the grant awarded?
We were honored to have the grant awarded on December 5th, 2019. And it’s for a great project. There are several communications “deserts” around Santa Cruz County which have sub-standard internet, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission. Many of these areas are in mobile home parks, where incomes are lower, on average, than the communities around them. They’ve been ignored by big ISPs — big corporations have a habit of ignoring consumers. Especially lower-income ones.
Cruzio identified seven such communities in mid-County that we can reach with the best internet anyone can build: fiber optic connections direct to each home. Residents of these parks have, till now, experienced some of the worst connectivity in Santa Cruz County. With this project, they can look forward to the best in the USA.
We weren’t the only ones who recognized the need for better internet in mid-county neighborhoods. Member of Congress Jimmy Panetta, State Assembly Member Mark Stone, County Supervisors Zach Friend and John Leopold, and many other elected and appointed officials helped move the project forward.
Who Awarded the Grant?
The State of California’s California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) awarded this grant. Their mission is, “to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communication services to all Californians.”
Cruzio’s project equalizes internet access across geographic areas and income levels, and puts much-needed new infrastructure into neighborhoods where substandard service currently exists. We’re a local company getting our community the internet it needs. We know how to do this; we’ve done it before.
Which Mobile Home Parks Won This Grant?
The seven parks the grant provides funding for are:
- Rodeo Mobile Estates
- Soquel Gardens Mobile Home Park
- Alimur Park
- Opal Cliffs
- Shangri-La Estates
- Castle Mobile Estates
- Blue & Gold Star Mobile Home Park
We’re currently in the process of arranging access with park owners and residents.
What prompted this project?
When Cruzio started building our Santa Cruz Fiber network, Santa Cruz County was rated 446th of 501 California metropolitan areas for internet speeds.
Now Cruzio has a considerable — and growing — network serving thousands of local residents. Wherever we build, we bring better options to the community.
We want to get that infrastructure where it’s needed most. Something so vital to modern life needs to be available equally to all, no matter what their location or economic circumstances. That’s why we started Equal Access Santa Cruz.
What does this mean for the rest of Santa Cruz County?
It means we are one step closer to bringing next-generation broadband to the rest of the county. We’re growing steadily and we’re also on the lookout for neighborhoods who need better broadband — so let us know! Every Cruzio customer, whether fiber, wireless, coworking or colo, helps build our network around the County. That’s the Cruzio way.
Why Mobile Home Parks?
Because they tend to be home to lower-income community members who are frequently overlooked for necessary infrastructure upgrades by big corporate incumbents. “Underserved” is defined by the CPUC as areas that are not receiving a minimum of 6 Mbps upload and 1 Mbps download internet speeds. Our first project working with MHPs is the El Rio Mobile Home Park in downtown Santa Cruz. Read more on that below.
Cruzio is a 30-year internet company, licensed as a public utility (CPCN) with the state of California, and has completed similar builds in modular home communities and other neighborhoods nearby. Our underground micro-conduit is minimally-invasive, and will not interfere with existing utilities.
The installation of fiber optics infrastructure is a win-win for everyone involved. Your residents will be delighted with lightning-fast speeds that are infinitely scaleable. This means that as times change and we all need faster and faster internet, your park will be all set with future-proofed internet ready for the next 50 years. In addition, the fiber infrastructure has been shown to increase property values. See how fiber optics is a great ROI for your property.
What will construction look like?
At Cruzio, we only partner with the best construction companies in the country. We’ll provide all plans, references and insurance necessary well before construction begins. The work itself will be complete in a matter of a few weeks. Using state-of-the-art micro-trenching technology, we won’t be digging up the streets. We cut about 6 inches into the surface to lay a small conduit connecting all the park properties. When we reseal that small trench, the surface integrity is actually stronger and longer-lasting than the original concrete or asphalt. On the side of each unit we’ll mount a small telecommunications box.
What does this mean for my residents?
A couple of weeks of construction and then light-speed internet. Once it is installed, each unit on the premises will have access to 1,000Mbps speeds. For qualifying low-income residents, we will also provide an entry-level service for only $14.95/month.
What does this mean for me?
The state of California has awarded this grant to build fiber optic infrastructure to your property at absolutely no cost to you. Because of its massive scalability, we dig once and your property’s telecommunications is established for decades. No more costs, no more upgrades. And, because it’s underground, it is much safer from the types of damage we see on above-ground builds utilizing telephone poles. For all intents and purposes, this is the last physical internet upgrade your property will ever need.
You’re a local and you’re invested in your community. We’re locals too. That’s why we’re invested in bringing the best to our community and to you.
To help move this project forward, fill out the form to let Cruzio know you’re interested. This is not a “pre-signup” and no signup is necessary at all for the infrastructure to be built. What will help the most is letting your property owner or manager know that you want this available in your neighborhood. We’ve provided a template letter to make that easier.