Cruzio Internet Header Newsletter #218

1. We Let AI Write Our News Release and It’s Hilarious

Map of Central Coast

Cruzio Internet will be building much-needed internet to the area market on this map

Grant-master James Hackett was writing up a news release, describing the grant Cruzio recently won (which is very big news!). On a whim he threw it into ChatGPT and said, “make this a bit more folksy.”

Here’s the “folksy” version of our press release.
(Want to read the less folksy version? It’s here.)

“On February 15th, folks gathered ‘round as the California Public Utilities Commission gave the nod, approving Resolution T-17810 and giving Cruzio’s Equal Access Summits to the Sea (EAS2C) grant proposal the green light.

Now, let me tell ya about EAS2C. It’s like takin’ a good ol’ country road and givin’ it a fresh coat of pavement. We’re talkin’ speeds up to 10 gigabits per second and fast-as-lightning internet reaching folks in the nooks and crannies of San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties. You see, a lot of our rural friends out there have been stuck with slower-than-molasses connections or none at all, ‘cause their old copper lines are wearin’ thin.

But Cruzio ain’t lettin’ that stand. They’re bringin’ in the big guns—state-of-the-art fixed wireless gear—to sling multi-hundred mbps broadband to thousands of spots that’ve been feelin’ left out. And you know what that means? It means more competition, more options, and, best of all, lower prices for everyone from the hills to the coast.

And get this: this ain’t no one-horse town operation. Other internet providers are hitchin’ their wagons to this open-access middle mile, offerin’ even faster, more reliable service to the good folks in them four Central Coast counties. Plus, they’re rustlin’ up a 1 Gbps direct internet access service to ease the load on the smaller providers, makin’ sure everybody’s got a fair shake.

Now, I reckon you’re wonderin’ how all this ties into public safety. Well, let me tell ya, better internet means better communication, and better communication means better chances when it comes to keepin’ our communities safe from wildfires. Cruzio’s even teamin’ up with the AlertWildfire gang, settin’ up internet-connected cameras all along the network to keep an eye out for trouble.

This here EAS2C project ain’t just about broadband—it’s about makin’ sure folks in our neck of the woods can thrive, come rain or shine. And we couldn’t have wrangled this without the help of our whole community. So, hats off to Representatives Jimmy Panetta and Anna Eshoo, State Senator John Laird, State Assemblymen Robert Rivas, and all the good folks on the Santa Cruz and Monterey County boards. And let’s not forget our partners at the Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara Offices of Education, the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, and the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership. It’s been a real team effort, and we’re mighty grateful for it.”

And hey, it’s only fair for us to mock ChatGPT. Here’s a list of the sources they’ve hoovered up into their large language database… and Cruzio is in it. So we’re just getting a little of our own back.

2. Rain Can Be Nasty, But Wind’s Often Worse

Check out the tree in the back is being blown down by wind. Gary Gouldsberry posted this on Mastodon

Last newsletter we mentioned that Cruzio has become a “neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night” kind of company.

We forgot to mention wind.

Winds of unusual force are becoming more common. We’ve seen steel bars twisted and bent, heavy bolts shaken loose. Every year seems to require sturdier equipment and more frequent attention. We’re working with equipment sensitive enough to catch a whisper from a mile away but which has to stand up in a 70+ mph gale.

We’re pretty darn good at keeping it all running. Our biggest issue is power. When the wind blows hard, utility power goes out. It’s just a fact. And one we deal with.

In a recent storm, we asked Cruzio CTO Chris Frost how long we had to wait for PG&E to restore power to a mountain location.

‘Oh we never wait for them,” he said. “We always get there before PG&E.” Our trucks were already on site, setting up a generator.

3. Bringing Internet to the Mountains

people smiling; Cruzio staff; Santa Cruz City Mayor Fred Keeley and Capitola Mayor Kristen Brown

Beautiful house. But it couldn’t get decent internet until Cruzio came along

Getting internet to remote areas is one of the big challenges in our world.

We’d love to expand fiber everywhere, but imagine the cost and the disruption to the environment. If the fiber’s underground — the “gold standard” for permanence — that means digging miles and miles of trenches, disturbing pavement, private property, and wildlife. If the fiber is strung on poles, it’s no less susceptible than wireless to damage from wind, rain, and squirrels. And surely you’ve noticed the state of California’s utility poles. Not very stable.

There are new technologies that can get similar speeds and reliability to tough places, and Cruzio is at the forefront of research and implementation.

That’s why we pioneered a program in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a fixed wireless manufacturer called Tarana. Tarana is a billion-dollar company headquartered in Milpitas, California, and we were able to collaborate with them at the invitation of the Santa Clara County Office of Education (educators are very, very interested in expanding internet access to all students).

The project brought gigabit-class internet to a group of homes high in the mountains. It worked so well that local dignitaries — Santa Cruz City Mayor Fred Keeley and Capitola Mayor Kristen Brown, pictured above — came out for a look. There’s a lot of potential here.

4. Let Cruzio Improve & Maintain Your WiFi

Santa Cruz surfer statue

Just a reminder that sometimes when your internet seems a bit sluggish it’s not the connection from the street. It’s the wifi inside your home (or business). That’s right, the perpetrator is in the house!

Wifi is so important that Cruzio has started offering Plume pods. Plumes extend your wifi from room to room and allow you and Cruzio to make adjustments to optimize your internet bandwidth.

Our tech support folks love it.

The devices are small, unobtrusive, and easy to plug-and-play. Some people want us to come out and help (we understand technophobia!), but most everyone can do it themselves. Contact us and we’ll set you up!

5. You’re Invited to MBEP’s Free Lunch Event at Cruzioworks

coast; test: It all starts with you

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership is holding a community study session at Cruzio’s downtown Santa Cruz coworking facility this Wednesday, February 28th, from noon to 2 pm.

The topic: “Building an Inclusive Economy in the Monterey Region.”

That should be interesting to everyone who lives here.

It’s free and easy to register. Plus, lunch is included! You’ll need to register in advance here. Cruzio’s coworking space is at 877 Cedar Street, Suite 150, in Santa Cruz. If you can’t make this one, there’s also a lunch on Thursday in Hollister. Register soon!

6. Our New State Bat

Pallid Bat

Many people are scared of bats. But this bat is a cutie, and was recently given the highest honor of any type of bat in California! Our Sales and Marketing Manager, and intrepid reporter, Jesus Lopez has the deets:
• As of 10/8/2023, thanks to Senate Bill No. 732, California now has an official state bat, the Pallid Bat!!
• A 12 year old girl, Naomi D’Alessio was an advocate and co-author of the bill
• The Pallid Bat was picked as the California state bat due to the fact it eats insects such as mosquitos, wasps and flies and they provide more than $1,000,000,000 worth of pest control to California Agriculture alone
• These little dudes also eat bark beetles and wood borers, which help reduce wildfire risk in California forests
• They are immune to the venom of scorpions, which just so happens to be one of their favorite things to snack on
• They eat a lot of Arizona bark scorpions, which are the most venomous scorpions in North America, and whose stings can be fatal to humans
• They are also one of the few bat species in the world that are omnivores, as they also munch on fruit and nectar of cacti in the desert
• Pallid Bats are also more effective pollinators than some of the nectarivorous bats with whom they compete for cacti
• They catch most of their food on the ground, rather than in flight, and they will fly away to a convenient and safe location to finish a meal
• They live in various ecosystems in CA, from deserts, oak woodlands, coastal redwoods and high up into the pine forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains
• Pallid Bats have a head and body length of approximately 2.75 inches, forearm length of approximately 2.1 inches, a tail of approximately 1.75 inches, and a wingspan of 15-16 inches
• They weigh a whopping 14-25 grams
• They have a blunt, and way adorable, piglike snout (kinda like a French Bulldog!)
• During the day time, pallid bats typically roost in cracks and crevices, which may include tile roofs, exfoliating bark of trees, or rocky outcrops
• Their pregnancies only last 53-71 days, and they cary 1-3 babies at a time
• Babies are typically born in the late spring
• Bat babies, aka pups, tend to fly within five to six weeks after being born
• Like most bats, they use echolocation while foraging and traveling
• On top of that ability, they can locate insects on the ground using their giant adorable ears
• These little dudes protect themselves by producing an odor from glands on it’s face
• Bats are typically seen hanging upside down so they can completely relax and conserve energy, so they are in a drop and fly position and ready to go, and so they can still see and echolocate, which they wouldn’t be able to do if they had their head buried in a crevice
• In Mandarin, the word for “upside-down bat” sounds just like the word for “luck has arrived.” So bats are a symbol of good luck
• Pallid Bats have yellowish brown to cream colored fur on their backs and white fur on their bellies
• Their eyes are larger than most species of North American bats
• They live as many as 10 years in the wild
• They can eat half of it’s body weight in one night! imagine if we pulled some cool stuff like that… what a treat!
• They make some cute noises like these
• And here is a cool track by Explosions in the Sky featuring some pretty rad footage of our new lil’ state bat bud

7. Great Source for Storm & Traffic Info

California Local Logo

As winter progresses with the possibility of more incoming stormy weather, a reminder that our friends at California Local publish the most up to date traffic maps showing congestion, road closures and active CHP and CalTrans incidents to help you get to your destination safely and on time.Use these links for your county:

Current Traffic Conditions and Information for Santa Cruz County.
Local Traffic Conditions for Santa Cruz County. Traffic cameras, current CHP incidents, congestion map, links to local & regional transportation resources.

Current Traffic Conditions and Information for Monterey County.
Local Traffic Conditions for Monterey County. Traffic cameras, current CHP incidents, congestion map, links to local & regional transportation resources.

Current Traffic Conditions and Information for San Benito County.
Local Traffic Conditions for San Benito County. Traffic cameras, current CHP incidents, congestion map, links to local & regional transportation resources.

8. Help Us Expand, Get Free Internet

Mobile home on stilts

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.

10. 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, Robert, Pily, Dizaree, Ben, Rob, Steve, another Mark, Justise, Mario, Sam, Cody, Ameyalli, Noel, Zach, Petiri, Matt, Zachary, Milo, another Ben, Eric, Caitlin, and Zian

Pop-pop was playing a game with Liv, age 6. She’s practicing to be a grownup:

Pop-Pop: How was your day, dear?
Liv: Oof, terrible day at work. My boss told me I couldn’t blink all day!
Pop-Pop: Oh boy, what did you do?
Liv: I fired him and now I’m the boss.
Pop-Pop: How did that go?
Liv: It’s hard. I have to crush everyone’s ideas.