1. Keep an Extra Eye Out for Scammers

Whenever there’s a crisis — like the current war in Ukraine — spammers and scammers take advantage. You may receive extra email or calls soliciting donations, or you may find a higher amount of more convincing phishing email.

We’re even being warned, in a very general way, about possible hacking by Russia. Earlier this month the FBI announced it had prevented a massive hacking project on American routers and firewall devices by the Russian military. Many forms of computer hacking and interruption depend on large networks of virus-infected computers (“botnets”), whose owners don’t know their machines are carrying out nefarious tasks. That can affect home and office computer equipment.

Internet security experts around the country are urging extra caution.

Our users and community are not likely to be the specific target of any particular scheme, but large sweeps looking for access to private and small business computers can sometimes catch unsuspecting people.

Resist hacking! Some principles to remember:
The more urgent it seems, the more likely it is to be a scam

Don’t submit personal information and passwords to forms you’re directed to in unexpected email or texts, even if the sender seems familiar


2. Cruzio Wins Grants to Build Internet

Migrant farmworker communities have been last in line for internet. No more.

You may have heard the Cruzio Internet recently won grants to build high-speed broadband to low income communities in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. This is the result of a determined, long-term effort by Cruzio and our partners — educators and philanthropists — to get internet where it’s most needed.

Funding for internet infrastructure has been lacking for many years

Solving the digital divide is complicated. You can’t deliver internet without a physical network, which is expensive and time-consuming to build. Parts of Cruzio’s service area are rural or low income, and free market forces just haven’t compelled construction to those places.

Several years ago, Cruzio turned our frustration with the digital divide into energy towards a solution. We set up our Equal Access program to build long-needed infrastructure.

We looked at public funding for internet, But till now, government programs promising better internet have generally been waylaid by big corporate ISPs. The programs just dumped money into existing networks (cough! shareholders’s pockets), perhaps helping to pay a family’s bills in the short term but doing nothing to improve available connectivity.

To the contrary: often, public funds helped sustain the status quo, not improve it.


3. Our Very Own Tech Titans

Chris Frost and James Hackett are building internet to underserved areas of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, and San Mateo Counties. And they won an award for it!

On March 2nd, in a chilly but thrilling outdoor event, our very own James Hackett and Chris Frost were lauded as “Titans of Tech” by Santa Cruz Works.

And no, James and Frost are not opening an In-N-Out burger. That was an April Fools joke. If an In-N-Out does open, we’ll happily provide it with internet.

And lastly, much admiration for Matthew Swinnerton, an event-planning madman and local icon, who allowed himself to be doused with 5 buckets of ice — we mentioned it was a chilly night that night, right? — at the event. Video here.


4. Tracking the Rail Trail

When Cruzio co-founder Chris Neklason co-founded California Local (he’s a serial co-founder!), one goal was to use journalism to inform the local electorate, the other was to explore new ways of doing journalism on the Internet.

The folks at California Local managed to combine both goals with the release of their first Tracker: a specialized article type which tracks a community process or issue over time.

The topic of their first tracker is the ongoing Santa Cruz Rail Trail project.

As they describe it:

“The 32-mile-long Santa Cruz Rail Trail is a great thing, except what is to be done with the rail?

“The issues surrounding the Santa Cruz Rail Trail are complex, so we gathered into a single package information about all of the stakeholders, explanatory articles written by our team, as well as links to coverage by other media outlets, relevant upcoming meeting dates, and other documentary material. We’ll continue to add updates as new information and reporting comes in.”

You can check it out (and bookmark it, they’ll keep updating it) here.

5. Free Calling to Ukraine this Month

If you have Velocity or Fusion telephone service with Cruzio, you can make calls to Ukraine free of charge for the month of April.

6. Getting Students Online at Pajaro Valley Shelter Services

Left: Yuriana Sotelo, 8th grade; Right: Her sister Jacqueline, 12th grade

How can we make a positive difference in our community? Improving educational opportunities for local young people is a great start. Remember, you can help very directly by adding a few dollars a month to your Cruzio bill, by registering here.

In January of this year, Cruzio Internet and Pajaro Valley Shelter Services (PVSS) partnered to bring internet connections to local families transitioning out of homelessness. This is the latest community partnership and infrastructure project funded by Equal Access Santa Cruz County, an initiative to close the digital divide in our region.

Pajaro Valley Shelter Services is a non-profit with a mission to help families experiencing homelessness transition into self-sufficiency and stable housing. At any given time, PVSS has up to 130 individuals – children and adults – residing in its shelter and housing programs and serves over 215 individuals annually. Homelessness is an issue pervasive in Santa Cruz County. As of the last count in 2019, there were over 2,000 estimated homeless individuals in the County, and that number has only seemed to increase since then. The pandemic was of no help. PVSS reports that the pandemic disproportionately impacted the predominantly Latinx, extremely low-income families that PVSS serves. In April 2020, a month into the pandemic, 57% of PVSS families lost their employment due to shutdowns and business slowdowns.


7. Cruzio Supports Labels for Broadband

When you buy a box of cereal, you can check the package to see what you’re getting.

With internet service, that hasn’t been a requirement. Loose — nonexistent! — standards have allowed all sorts of bait-and-switch and other shenanigans.

A lot of people sign up with a national ISP (we are not naming names…) without seeing accurate details, and then are stuck paying high prices for sub-standard service. We often hear of folks signing up to a national ISP at, say $70 per month and finding themselves, a year or so later, paying closer to $150/mo. And stuck in a contract to boot.

Plus those big ISPs are gathering and selling user data to marketing firms — which Cruzio emphatically does NOT do. Where those practices are disclosed, if at all, is in a pages-long small-print contract at the top of which is the “accept” button.

Cruzio strives not to play those games. We have one reasonable price for our service and that’s where the price stays. We don’t have term contracts. We’re as accurate as we can be about expected speeds.

Honesty puts us at a disadvantage in marketing, though. Advertised intro prices from big corporate ISPs are very attractive indeed, and the multiple fees and conditions are hard to find.

That’s why Cruzio is one of the few ISPs urging the FCC to move forward with the broadband labeling voted into law by Congress last year. That will require ISPs to put a label, similar to a nutrition label, at the point of sale. The label will include such information as “typical speed” (which Cruzio already discloses) and term obligations (which we don’t have). Transparency helps honest companies. We hope to see it enacted soon.

8. Goodbye Jim Warner

Jim Warner,, center in black, helping to plan a route for fiber internet running through the county at Cruzio

The internet’s not very old. Internet pioneers are mostly still alive and kicking even though they far predated the moguls like Mark Zuckerburg and Sergei Brin.

So we don’t often have to post obituaries. But we do have one this month.

Jim Warner, who worked at UC Santa Cruz Communication and Technologies Service (CATS) as their longtime guru, was a beloved figure in the local tech community. He had a voluminous knowledge about technology and was generous in sharing it. He was warm and funny and never very patient with the endless bureaucracy that accompanies any big changes — changes which, in the case of computing and the internet, he helped bring to Santa Cruz County.

Indeed, one of his principles was that when the university brought in infrastructure, local residents should benefit, too. He and his colleague Brad Smith made very sure to include the broader community in their work. We’re grateful that Cruzio could help push that vision forward.

We often saw Jim, who wore appallingly colorful socks with his Teva sandals, on his bicycle around town and he was always a welcome sight. After a friendly greeting he’d tell us about some new and complicated development in telecommunications. He had quite a grasp on how to get things done. We’ll miss him!

9. Tutu Tuesday 2/22/22

Of course we took this photo at 2:22 pm

A date like Tues 2/22/22 doesn’t happen often. You’re lucky to catch one chance in a lifetime to wear a tutu on a day that’s full of twos and tues.

Cruzio staff took full advantage. A tutu is a look that suits almost everyone beautifully. With a variety of accessories ranging from tiaras to flannel shirts, we were gorgeous. We decorated our headquarters with multiple tutus and some people wore them as hats, some around their waist, some both. When one tutu won’t do, time for two tutus.

10. Note from Cruzio’s CEO

What area does Cruzio serve? Well, that’s changing. Our footprint is getting bigger.

Cruzio recently merged with neighboring best-buddy ISP Coastside Net. Coastside is based in San Mateo County, and Cruzio realized we’re not hyperlocal anymore.

Now we’re regional. But what’s our region called?

Our marketing staff have puzzled over this change. We used to say, “Santa Cruz County” in front of everything we did.

And we loved highlighting Santa Cruz County, although it’s a bit difficult having a city (Santa Cruz) and a county (Santa Cruz) with the same name. That’s challenging for advertising because people tended to think we provided internet just in the City. They didn’t realize Cruzio reaches a lot of odd places where you wouldn’t expect great internet to be.

We get around.


11. Help Us Expand, Get Free Internet

Want free Internet? Have a tall building or 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 only 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.

(If we put equipment on this rooster’s head, nearby houses could get better internet.)

12. Handy Cruzio Information

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, Cameron, Jay, Jason, another David, Sonya, Tony, Carlos, Evan, Ean, Robert, Pily, Alexander, Dizaree, Ben, Kian, Bishop, Rob, Steve, another Mark, Eric, and Justise;

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

Jake at age 15: “I would exercise more if I weren’t so tired from walking.”