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Monday, June 10, 2019

Straying from my lane

I should know better than to take a look outside the E-Rate, but I can't help it; I'm a curious fellow.  So when the announcement of the latest Connect America Fund (CAF) grants came out, I looked to see which states they went to.  What?! New Jersey?!  What's the goal of the CAF?  "to accelerate broadband build-out to ... Americans ... who lack access to infrastructure capable of providing 10/1 Mbps fixed broadband."  OK, maybe in southern NJ, or the northwest corner.  Wait, there are three grants in Monmouth County.  This county is thoroughly blanketed by broadband from Verizon FiOS and a cable company.  Who can't get 10 Mbps?

Let's look at this grant: Block 1017, Block Group 1, Census Tract 8038 (in the FCC data file, it's Census Block ID 340258038001017). That block contains parts of 2 riverfront properties in one of the richest towns in the state: the properties are each assessed around $6.9 million.  The USF is paying Verizon to run fiber to 2 homes worth $7 million each?  The award list says that Verizon is only getting $2,577.70 from CAF, but still.... 

Verizon says those properties can already get 200 Mbps of Internet for $40/month.  Comcast offers 150 Mbps for $40/month.

Exactly what is Verizon getting $2,577.70 for?

I have got to stop peeking at the other USF programs, because it just gets my dander up.

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