Cruzio Internet Header Newsletter #217

1. 2023

Fireworks; 2023

In 2023, with your help, Cruzio connected and subsidized over a thousand local low-income families with dependable high-speed internet, and we continued building out our independent network to serve more of our area with fiber and fiber-backed gigabit services. We made great progress and in 2024 we’re looking to do a lot more! There are lots of challenges ahead and we love taking this journey with you. Thank you for a great 2023!

2. How to Lower Your Internet Costs

Internet is a necessity these days, and we believe top-notch internet should be affordable to all.

First of all, if you have Cruzio service, congratulations. We don’t do the intro prices that balloon up towards $200/month for a residential connection — very common with larger carriers. And we don’t add dozens of fees on top of the listed price. No, we’re pretty much what we say we are, and remain so throughout our service to you.

Keeping prices low is challenging, given rising costs and deteriorating infrastructure in many parts of our service area. In the past we depended on wholesale infrastructure — phone lines, basically — that was regulated as a public utility. Now those lines are deteriorating and AT&T is jacking up the price for those still using them. AT&T is no longer selling that service in most areas so if you depend on your DSL/Velocity, hold onto it.

In response to all this, Cruzio looked for better, faster service that we can manage the way our community likes. We’re building our own fiber and fiber-backed network. That frees us from the need to lease lines from larger carriers, who pull the same tricks on us as they do on end users.

We’re making big strides.

In the meantime, you or someone you know may be stuck in the middle. Our best services not yet available, but prices are rising. Or, even our lowest prices may be a struggle. We have some solutions:

1. If you’re still on Velocity, check eligibility for better service. Our independent services are often lower-priced than those we need to purchase wholesale. We can tell pretty quickly for most folks whether we can move you to our newer, better network.

2. Get a $30 month ACP internet subsidy to help pay the bills. For folks on low or fixed income, applying is easy, here’s how to do it.

3. Talk to us. We might have plans for your area, and you might be able to help. At the end of every newsletter we mention looking for buildings (houses, hillsides, commercial buildings) with good sight lines to other buildings. Got an idea? Let us know.

3. Local Surfer Takes 1st at the Cold Water Classic

Cruzio is a coastal ISP and we love water creatures: otters, whales, dolphins, and — oh yes — surfers. (We have mixed feelings about sharks.)

So we’re always stoked to help O’Neill out with the Coldwater Classic surf competition that happens in our chilly but world-class surf break at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz.

This year was especially exciting because Santa Cruz’s own Autumn Hays executed some great rides to win the women’s competition. Check out video of her winning performance! Many congratulations to Autumn and to all the other local folks who took part. We always manage a good showing even against some of the top surfers in the world.

As for the men’s side, the contest was won by East Coaster but frequent visitor to Santa Cruz, Michael Dunphy. Michael has aninteresting Instagram video showing how close he has surfed to some pretty big sharks. Scary!

Cruzio has been providing internet to O’Neill’s Coldwater Classic (and also Mavericks events to the north) for years. Internet is everywhere: surfers — when they’re out of the water — and spectators use Cruzio wifi to post realitime photos and videos. Providing internet is an example of how a local ISP can help out — we’re excited to connect the world to local events.

Link to Instagram video

4. How to Get the Best WiFi

diagram of device placement in home

Cruzio’s plug-in devices let you get excellent WiFi everywhere in your building

It’s the number one problem our techs get called to solve: bad wifi.

In this scenario, speeds to your home or office are fine. But you’ve got a big house, or thick walls, or other complications. We’ve got to get that high-speed internet where you need it.

So Cruzio researched and found a really great wifi solution called Plume that’s plug-and-play. It gets the internet everywhere: bedroom, kitchen, garage, spare room. So you’re not limited to just the best spot in the house.

And it doesn’t just improve the range of your wifi. It also makes it easier to find and repair problems. Plume can spot issues like interference from a neighbor’s wifi (if happens!) or an outdated device in your house that bogs down all the others (that happens too!). Those problems are easily fixed, either automatically or with a little help from Cruzio. We are really loving it!

Not everyone needs to add this service (which, by the way, is not expensive). And we won’t try to sell you on a solution that’s more than what you want or need. But next time you run into trouble, let us know and we’ll fix you up.

Here’s a customer’s experience:
“Good afternoon everyone! I just spoke with Todd who is testing out three of our Plume pods, they were previously using an Orbi setup. Very pleased with the upgrade, and said speeds are double what they got before. Originally got them for troubleshooting purposes, but decided to keep Plumes for the foreseeable future since the performance is so much better. Great stuff!”

5. Understanding California

redwood trees, California Local logo

As the most populous state of the Union and the fifth largest economy on Earth, California can be complex and hard to understand. Not to worry!

Cruzio co-founder Chris Neklason’s latest venture, California Local, has announced the Kindle version of their book ‘How California Works’ is now available at Amazon!

Learn more at and order your copy today!

Use California Local to keep current and connected with your Central Coast home.

Visit and bookmark: for Santa Cruz County for Monterey County for San Benito County for Santa Clara County

San Mateo County coverage coming soon!

6. Neither Snow, No Rain.

Large Building

Former US Post Office Building, New York City

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Sound familiar? Earlier in 2023, after months of trudging around the county restoring power and connectivity in the weather — remember? floods! hail! heavy snow! — we recalled that old Post Office slogan and thought, yeah, well, us too.

Cruzio is out there with every kind of tool: bucket trucks and lifts, ropes and ladders, picks and shovels. We’re hot and sweaty — or shivering cold. We’re worried about the wind on the mountains and the spiders under houses.

Safety is number one, and we do not send employees into unsafe situations. To keep the network running safely, we spend a lot of time and money every year improving technology. Our backup systems, especially backup power, require constant effort— that’s why we’re generally up faster than other companies in power outages.

We know it’s important to make the effort, so your internet always works when you need it.

Cruzio Internet building

Cruzio Headquarters, Santa Cruz, CA

7. Do Octopuses Dream?

Octopus; white
Octopus; speckled
Octopus; brown

We know that octopus skins are like video screens, with millions of pixels that can change color.

We know that octopuses are intelligent creatures, with brains in each of their eight arms as well as a brain in their head.

Now researchers are noticing that octopuses seem to dream. And it seems that — like cats and dogs, whose whiskers twitch and paws move as if they’re running in their sleep — octopuses do when they dream what they do when they’re awake: they change the colors on their skins. Watch it happen!

8. Watch Out: Now AI is Writing Spam!

Where there’s a better way, scammers will take advantage of it.

We all know that Artificial Intelligence can write good term papers and has even written articles for the likes of CNET and, probably, other publications (shame on them!).

Now we believing we’re seeing it in spam, including phishing messages. Bad! That means the scams will be better written, and more tailored to information available about you on the internet (again, shame on the companies who sold that information about people. Cruzio does not share or sell subscriber info to marketing companies!)

AI help in composing means spam is going to be harder to catch. The emails — and, increasingly, phone texts — will be more casual and breezy. Fewer misspellings and grammatical mistakes that expose its fakeness. Be extra wary!

And, by the way, the “Write WIth AI” button above is included in the application we use to publish newsletters. This isn’t a phishing app, but it’s an example of how prevalent AI has become. But we don’t use it. Actual people write this newsletter.

9. One More Reminder: It’s Food Bank Time!

Canned and pantry goods

Second Harvest Food Bank provides meals to the needy folks right here in our own community. We think it’s important to take care of our neighbors so we try to send them what we can all year long, and do an extra push during the holiday season.

We’ll match our members’ donations up to a total of $1,000 this year. If we get lots of donations, we’ll match more! So please:

• Send us proof that you made a donation online — a thank-you page will do, or
• Send us a check made out to Second Harvest Food Bank. We’ll pass it along to the Food Bank

We thank you! And remember, if you want to add a few dollars to your monthly Cruzio bill to get internet to a needy family, sign up here. School children in our area are still challenged by a lack of good affordable internet in their homes, and we’re subsidizing thousands of them.


10. Did You Know? The Christmas Version

• everyone’s favorite, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was written in a quick 15min session, and recorded in August ⏲
• speaking of Mariah Carey, she also wrote “Where are You Christmas” that was made popular by Faith Hill
• Jingle Bells is about 165 years old, as it was first published in 1857! 🔔🔔🔔
• Jingle Bells was also intended to be a Thanksgiving song, not a Christmas tune… Thanksgiving really needs more songs 🦃
• Tony The Tiger sings Christmas tunes? Sorta… Thurl Ravenscroft (bad ass name) sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and also voiced Tony The Tiger, as well as one of the busts from the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland 🐯
• Irving Berlin, the writer of “White Christmas” hated Elvis Presleys version SO much he attempted to get it banned from the radio 🎸
• much to my surprise, the only Christmas song to ever hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 was… “The Chipmunk Song” 🐿🐿
• The Catholic Church condemned “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” because they thought it promoted adultery, when in fact, “Santa” is just really the kid’s dad in the song… duh?
• Brenda Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded the OG version of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” 👶
• Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire/The Christmas Song, was written during a summer heatwave in 1944 🔥
• “Silver Bells” was originally titled “Tinkle Bells”until Jay Livingstons wife explained that “tinkle” is often synonymous with peeing
• “Jingle Bells” was the first song performed in space (that we know about…) 🚀
a violin solo of “O Holy Night” was the second piece of music to ever be broadcast on radio — in 1906 🎻
• you know that husky dude in the red coat and white beard, Santa? the song “Up On The Housetop” was the first Christmas song to mention ol’ Saint Nick 🎅
• a lot of popular Christmas songs were actually written by Jewish songwriters; “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” were all written by Johnny Marks; “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin; and “Winter Wonderland” was written by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith
• the song “Let It Snow” never actually mentions Christmas or anything religious, and just talks about not wanting to go outside ❄️
• and moving onto my favorite part, the part where I get to share some tunes, here are my favorite non-traditional Christmas bops that more or less safe for work:

“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” by the legendary Ramones
“There Ain’t No Sanity Clause” by The Damned
“I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” by Blink-182
“I’m Not Ready for Christmas” by Chris Farren
“Christmas Song” by Phoebe Bridgers
• “Christmas at My House” by The Dirty Nil

11. Help Us Expand, Get Free Internet

Odd-looking house

This unusual barn could get great free internet from Cruzio — and could help neighbors out too!

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.

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, David, Ani, Max, Iasha, Alana, Jay, Jason, another David, Sonya, Evan, Robert, Pily, Dizaree, Ben, Rob, Steve, another Mark, Justise, Mario, Sam, Cody, Ameyalli, Noel, Zach, Petiri, Matt, Zachary, Milo, and another Ben

A quick apology: in the last newsletter we referred to Charlie Manson as a “kooky” guy. The Manson murders were a long time ago (1969) and the memories have faded, but some folks remember those days with a shudder. It was a serious and scary time! So, sorry for taking it lightly. And thanks to the reader who let us know.