Yesterday the CPUC approved Broadband Associates’ funding for building a second fiber line from Redding to Eureka with plans to serve the communities along the 299 corridor.

The project generated some controversy when  it was first made public. Some thought it a waste of money when lower cost technologies such as microwave and wi fi networks would be adequate. Others believe Broadband Associates incapable of carrying out the project. Still others have had problems with the funding process and even the concept of public/private partnerships.  However, from what I could tell, the proposal has overwhelming support from business, government and technology industry leaders in the region.

It’s interesting to note that 5 projects were approved yesterday but the press release only talks about 2 of them, Broadband Associates’ being one. The funds awarded totalled $8,047,552 and the fiber project alone will get $7.8 million of that. So, this is by far the most ambitious project to come out of this round of funding. It’s also curious that the press release discussed servicing the towns along 299, but made no mention of the potential alternative to the current single fiber route owned by AT&T. While serving the rural areas is certainly important, the vitality of the region continues to hang by that single strand. I think most of us are equally eager to see this how this project will improve that situation.