Our Local Employees Build Equal Access

Luis, Tony, Ignacio, and Thom

Cruzio was founded by people from Santa Cruz, and our staff is hired and trained right here, too. That makes Equal Access Santa Cruz a project of neighbors helping neighbors.

Our team just spent several weeks setting up connections for migrant labor housing communities west of Watsonville. Hundreds of children live there, and need internet for school. There’d been no internet at all prior to our arrival, so it was quite a job. Fortunately Cruzio’s fixed wireless technology — when conditions are right — can connect remote locations quickly and economically.

Residents will get their internet for $15/mo or even free, depending on their situation, thanks to generous donations, all from local sources. (You can help with the next project, see how.)

The homes were within sight of one of our Watsonville points of presence, and luckily had no large groups of trees, tall buildings, or mountain ridges in the way. (We generally love trees and mountains, but they can be trouble when we’re building our network.)

This housing is only occupied from spring to fall, and families were gone for the winter.

We wanted to have everything set so kids could get online right away.
They’d already missed enough school.

We started work in early January. Families were due back by April 1st. So we had a short time frame to complete all the connections and wire up every one of 143 buildings in Buena Vista and its neighboring camp, Tierra Alta. From day one, it was go-go-go. Our infrastructure and system administration teams laid out the network plans — that means calculating hundreds of numbers and paths, both physical and logical. Then Adia Schamber and her Field Operations crew took over.

Construction started January 18th. Children would connect to their Zoom classes as soon as they moved in — if we finished in time. The schedule was tight.

And then it rained.


2. We’re Also Expanding Our Standard Service

We’re not forgetting our other customers and neighbors. We know many of you need high-quality internet and that’s part of our mission, too.

Constructing and expanding a high-speed internet network is time-consuming, but we’re working as fast as we can. Santa Cruz County needs a competitive independent internet provider and that’s us. We not only provide great service, but we keep the big companies honest. We’re Net Neutral and respect folks’ privacy. Competition — that’s us, again — leads to lower prices and drives innovation.

We’re growing our network quickly!

Our latest expansions are in Scotts Valley and Watsonville. Plus, we’ve added more redundancy and new coverage to parts of the Westside as well as Seabright. Check with us if you live in either town. We know it’s tough to keep checking in, and we appreciate the folks that do. And we’ll keep looking for ways to stretch farther.

3. Penguin Weigher: Best Job Ever? You Decide.

Being locked down for a year makes us dream of seeing friends. How about these tuxedo-clad bird friends? We’d like that very much.

4. Dogs in Blankets

Cruzio’s logo is a cat, but we also love dogs. While working from home, Cruzio staff have been uploading pictures of their canine companions and we noticed a trend. What’s with dogs and blankets?

Yes, there is a dog in here:
Murray under blankets


5. Cats on Computers

Many Cruzio staff members have been working from home for over a year now.

Cruzio’s logo is a kitty, at a computer of course. And it’s based on our real life experience. During the pandemic, our cats often join us at work. So helpful!

Cam found that his cat, Fang, almost matched our logo.

Cam's cat does the Cruzio KItty

Or, another approach:

Kitty asleep on keyboard


6. Santa Cruz Parks & Rec: What’s Open Now?

Can we play disc golf? Schedule a wedding? Eat at a Wharf restaurant? Santa Cruz Parks and Rec has a handy guide.

7. When Sailboats Capsized, Surfers Rescued Teens

Boats fell like dominos in the heavy surf — the footage by Robyn McCool is pretty dramatic!

Just outside Santa Cruz Harbor this January, a dozen teenagers in a sailing class were hit by tall waves. They had to abandon their boats and swim to shore, pretty dangerous given the waves and rocks.

Luckily some experienced surfers were nearby, wondering at first why the novice sailors were out there in the high waves and then paddling to their aid when they were tossed into the water. A nearby teen caught the event on video. Friend of Cruzio Matthew Swinnerton even interviewed the videographer!

Fun fact: the surfer interviewed in this video, Shane Skelton, led the construction team which converted Cruzio’s headquarters from industrial space to office space. Yay Shane!

8. Yes, We’re Coworking Again

Internet headquarters

When the pandemic shut us all in, Cruzio made our workspace safer. We limited the number of people in our coworking space and didn’t, till now, accept new customers. We still screen every person coming in, ready to do contact-tracing if necessary, and sanitize surfaces every day.

Probably most importantly, we installed high-quality filters in our air conditioning system — in addition to our many dozens of openable windows and giant ceiling fans. Our air circulation is pretty great.

And, knock wood, we not only didn’t have any instances of Covid in our coworking space (or in any of our staff!), we also generally weren’t as sick with anything else, either. We avoided flus. We evaded colds. It wasn’t a great year in most ways, but amidst the pandemic we were, oddly, a bit healthier than usual.

Now the County has opened up its restrictions on places of business. Cruzio’s staff and management talked it over and decided it’s okay to let more people in to the workplace we use alongside coworkers. It’s a pretty special place.

If you’re ready to work out of your house, we’re ready for you!

Stretch out — there’s plenty of room! — enjoy the quiet atmosphere, chat with other coworkers, concentrate, and get some work done. Start up a video call when it’s time to talk to colleagues, friends, or family — we’ve got gigabit internet both down and up, great for Zoom. Chat with our lovely staff, who can help you reserve meeting rooms or get package delivery. Can’t wait to see you!

9. Cruzio Helps CA Win Net Neutrality Case

We’ve all been focused on other things, like surviving a pandemic. But behind the scenes, there’s an ongoing struggle for Net Neutrality. And Cruzio helped the good guys with the latest victory.

Don’t lump Cruzio in with big ISPs who want to steer internet viewership to their corporate partners and charge for everything else. From the start, we’ve been in favor of an open internet, where people can look at a friend’s video as easily as they can watch a Disney movie. Net Neutrality is the concept that says the delivery system (the ISP) can’t throttle or add charges depending on which programs, news, and other content you see.

Last year, Cruzio again contributed evidence to California’s pro-Net Neutrality case. We described how competition keeps prices low and and innovation high — that’s the way the internet was built, and flawed as it may be, it’s better than expensive monopolies controlling what we see.

And we won! The Consumer Protection Division or the California Department of Justice let us know that our contribution was helpful. There’s not much competition in the world of ISPs, but somehow, with your help, Cruzio’s making it work. We were able to express what the internet should be like, and, with our long history, contradict the lobbyists’ claims in the lawsuit.

And we got a nice thank-you note from the California Department of Justice!

Read about the victory for Net Neutrality here.

10. Some Older DSL Services Will End in June

spaghetti-ike phone wiring around a window

John, a Cruzio staffer, took this photo of an actual customer site

First, be assured that if you haven’t been contacted, you are not affected.

If you are a subscriber to the small number of affected connections, we’ve already sent you email and snail mail letting you know there are only a few months of service left. We’re helping people find alternatives. We’re comping free email service. We’re sometimes sharing a few tears!

What’s happened is that we’re in a race. Cruzio needs to build our own infrastructure around the county to provide service to our community before AT&T decommissions the copper phone lines our older services use.

We’ve been part of an effort to force telephone companies to maintain their lines longer than they wish, and we’ve had some success, though we’ve lost money on the services for years. But some of the longest, oldest infrastructure has been failing. And, reluctantly, service on those lines has deteriorated so badly we will have to let a small number of our accounts go.

More details…

11. Live or Work Downtown? Sign Up for Fiber

There’s still plenty of room on our downtown fiber network. If you live or work in downtown Santa Cruz, chances are you’re eligible for a fantastic internet connection.

That’s an actual speed test pictured above. Extremely fast, symmetrical internet. $74.95 per month. Unbeatable!

Start the process: just enter your address here.

And, if you’re not downtown, and you enter your address, we’ll tell you the best option we have available for you. So it’s still a great idea to try it. Click on the “check what’s available” button and fill in any service — we’ll contact you.

12. Help Us Expand, Get Free Internet

Want free Internet? Have a sweeping view?
Cruzio is always looking for well-situated buildings to join our broadband network. If we use your location we’ll give you free high-speed service.

We’ve had some great success lately, not just with taller buildings like offices and apartments, but with houses that just happen to see lots of other houses and buildings.

Not only will you save on great internet — you’ll also help other people in the community who need a better connection. If you wish your neighborhood had better internet, and your house doesn’t fit the “sweeping view” description, bug your neighbor up on the ridge!

Interested? Contact us.

13. Handy Cruzio Information

—Social Media—-

If you’re moving, Cruzio can save you from an interruption in Internet service and prevent costly fees. Call us at 459-6301 or contact us online (several weeks ahead, if possible!).

Get Cruzio Credit with Buddy Bucks
Recommend us! Each time a new customer gives us your email address, account number, or full name when they sign up you’ll get a $10 credit — or more — to your account.

Feed the Hungry
If you’re late on a payment to Cruzio, bring 3 cans of food into our office and we will waive late fees up to $5. Donations go to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Chris, Peggy, Mark, James, Frost, Sandi, Colin, Adia, Jesus, Alison, Justin, Andrew, David, Alex, Ani, Max, Iasha, Alana, Brian, Cameron, Jay, Jason, another David, Sonya, Tony, John, Jason, Evan, Carlos, Ean, Thom, Ben, Jose, Robert, Pily, and Tyler;

Jake, Annika & Carly (the grown “kids”)

When we got back from vacation Carly, age 5, said, “the kittens look different from before.”
“September’s ears switched sides,” she explained. “Her ear from that side is on this side now.”