Equal Access Santa Cruz Brings Fiber Optic Infrastructure to Capitola Area
January 14, 2020 — Santa Cruz, CA
Cruzio was awarded a $2.45M grant to build high-speed fiber optic internet connectivity to underserved mobile home parks
On December 5, 2019 Cruzio was awarded a $2.45 Million broadband grant from the California Advanced Services Fund to build high-speed fiber optic internet connectivity to seven underserved mobile home parks in the Capitola area.
Although situated only a few miles from Silicon Valley, there are many communications “deserts” around Santa Cruz County which have sub-standard internet, as defined by the FCC. Many of these areas are in mobile home parks, where residents often have lower incomes, 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 can be reached with the best internet anyone can build: fiber optic connections direct to each home. Residents of these parks, who’ve up to now experienced some of the worst connectivity in Santa Cruz County, can look forward to the best in the USA at extremely low prices.
Cruzio weren’t the only ones who recognized the need for better internet in our lower-income communities. Member of Congress Jimmy Panetta, State Assembly Member Mark Stone, County Supervisors Zach Friend and John Leopold, Capitola City Manager Jamie Goldstein and many other elected officials and community leaders helped move the project forward.
When Cruzio started building the Santa Cruz Fiber network, Santa Cruz County was rated 446th of 501 California cities for internet speeds. Too small to attract investment from big ISPs, and too populated for rural subsidy programs, our county wallowed in neglected infrastructure.
In years past, Cruzio and other independent ISPs had mostly relied on leased AT&T lines built in an earlier, highly regulated, era. But the big ISPs were using a lack of competition to save costs, letting local wires age and fray. The only path forward for local providers is to move away from that aging network and start building independent infrastructure. Now Cruzio has a considerable — and growing — network serving thousands of local residents and bringing better options to the community.
“We’re honored to accept the grant for a great project,” said Cruzio Director of Business Operations, James Hackett. “Internet is vital to modern life and needs to be available equally to all, no matter what their location or economic circumstances.”
The grant takes a big step towards that goal. After a year of work (and many years accumulating expertise and experience) James and fellow Director Chris Frost drove up to Sacramento to receive the grant award for Cruzio’s Equal Access Santa Cruz project.