Author Archives: Alana

Emergency Broadband Benefit: Your Questions Answered

What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households.

What discount is available on Cruzio services?
Eligible households can receive up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals

Who is eligible?
To find out if you’re eligible, go to https://getemergencybroadband.org/ and click ‘Apply Now’.

Can I qualify directly through Cruzio’s Equal Access program?
No, you cannot qualify for EBB simply by being eligible for EASC subsidies, you need to apply separately.

How long does the discount last?
The program is temporary in nature. The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.

What happens when it runs out?
Subscribing households will be subject to Cruzio’s undiscounted rates and general terms and conditions at the end of the program if they continue to receive service.

If I sign up with Cruzio, can I only ever apply my EBB to Cruzio services?
No, you may transfer their EBB Program benefit to another provider at any time.

Cruzio Newsletter #207


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Join the Cruzio Team

Cruzio Internet is hiring in 2021! Come join the Cruzio team, a local Internet Service Provider in Santa Cruz, and help us build local broadband. We’re growing our team and expect to hire up to 20 new Field Technicians and Technical Service Representatives this year. 

Work with a fun and supportive team local to the Santa Cruz area.

As the Equal Access Santa Cruz project gains more traction across Santa Cruz County we’re growing our team to fill the need and get everyone connected. So far we’ve connected over 200 student families during the pandemic and are aiming to connect many more in 2021. Our project has expanded to more school districts, low-income housing units, UCSC student programs, and senior living facilities.

We train employees on the job and are seeking entry-level applicants who have an interest in gaining installation, technical, and customer service skills. 

We’re scheduling appointments for a Zoom Interview Hiring Fair and we’d love to hear from all interested applicants. Reach out to us at cruzio.com/careers and let us know some times you are available for a Zoom interview.

We can’t wait to hear from you and meet the new members of our team!

-The Folks at Cruzio

Equal Access Santa Cruz FAQ

What’s Equal Access Santa Cruz?
Equal Access Santa Cruz (EASC) is a local initiative to try to bridge the digital divide in Santa Cruz County. This project is spearheaded by Cruzio Internet, working with Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, Pajaro Valley Unified School District, and other local organizations.

How’s it work?
Cruzio is providing high-speed broadband to qualifying individuals and families for $0-$15/mo depending on their need. Need is determined by the school districts and enrollment in a student subsidized lunch program.

How can get this low-cost service?
We started EASC focused on students in need, especially in South County. That’s still our focus but we’ve also expanded eligibility by working with senior services and fire relief organizations.

What’s the Equal Access Challenge?
We’ve committed to providing subsidized connections totaling no fewer than the number of full-price connections we sell in 2021. Makes sense? If we sell 500 super-fast internet services at $75/mo, we’ll provide 500 for $0 or $15/mo. If we sell 1,000, we’ll provide a 1,000. Simple. For every single full-price signup, we’ll add one more free or subsidized connection. See if you’re eligible for Wireless Pro or Santa Cruz Fiber here.

Is this some sort of slowed-down version of the internet?
Heck no. Unlike some of the bigger ISPs, Equal Access service is exactly the same connection that we sell full price. Fast download and upload, low latency, no data caps. Everything anyone would need for home schooling, video conferencing, etc.

Is this just for one year?
We hope not. We’ve committed to provide each low-cost connection for at least 3 years. If we are able to secure more funding, we’ll keep growing the network and adding more families in the years ahead.

This is great, how else can I help?
If you’re already a Cruzio customer or you just want to help bridge the digital divide, you can add a recurring gift to your Cruzio bill or make a one-time donation through the Community Foundation. If you’re not in a position to donate at the moment, you can still help by spreading the word. Share the Equal Access Santa Cruz website or share from Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Cruzio Internet, Equal Access Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education

Cruzio Internet headquarters

we’re working, but not many of us are in our building

Equal Access Santa Cruz has a simple goal: to bridge the digital divide and bring true high-speed broadband to every family in the Santa Cruz community, regardless of income level. The project is spearheaded by Cruzio Internet, one of the country’s oldest independent ISPs and a trusted partner in the Santa Cruz community for over 30 years.

When the current health crisis hit our county, our education system was an immediate area of major concern. it was obvious that the need for high-quality broadband had never been higher, and that low-income families would be the hardest hit.

Working with the County Office of Education (COE) and the Pajaro Valley School District (PVUSD) Cruzio quickly developed a plan to expand coverage and provide free and subsidized high-speed internet to dozens of low-income families and students.

The program provides families with free internet service including state-of-the-art home wifi for three months and then a heavily-discounted rate thereafter.

“Our priority is to support all students and families with the resources and tools needed for distance learning—especially our most under-served students”, said Jason Borgen, Chief Technology Officer for COE. “Focusing on equity, and doing everything we can to remove the digital divide from Santa Cruz County, the COE, and Cruzio, working together, can truly make a difference here,” he continued.

Demand for the service was overwhelming and clearly there was an opportunity to expand the program and serve many more families. Working closely with COE and PVUSD, Cruzio developed a plan to utilize district-owned properties to distribute wireless internet to many, many more families, students, and teachers. Faced with an urgent situation, Cruzio has relied on our own resources and our excellent connections within our industry. A quick call to one of Cruzio’s trusted technology partners, Aviat Networks, led to a donation of several high-end backhaul radios for use in the project. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to help Cruzio and Santa Cruz broaden the ability to communicate, learn, and continue to advance in life, even in these difficult times”, said Pete Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Aviat Networks.

While we didn’t at first consider outside donations as a possibility, once it was suggested we realized that not just Cruzio management and staff, but also other members of the Santa Cruz County community and the greater technology community recognize the importance of educational opportunity — and equity — for low-income families in our county. This knowledge has inspired us to expand the Equal Access Santa Cruz program and seek out new projects and opportunities that serve these goals.

The Digital Divide is newly revealed and it is creating unequal educational opportunity. As children are barred from libraries, community centers, and even friends’ houses, they need internet in their own homes. EASC has already provided that service to over 50 families and we are poised to serve hundreds more. And we need to act fast to connect as many people as possible as the fall semester begins.

“Our mission has always been the same,” said Chris Frost, Director of Infrastructure & Technology at Cruzio, “to offer affordable, high-quality Internet access to every home, business, and family in Santa Cruz County. Thanks to the support and vision of the community, we’re a step closer to that goal today.”

COVID19 CRUZIOWORKS FAQ

Cruzio building

877 Cedar Street

FAQ Updated on 3/30/21

Is Cruzioworks open?

Yes, we’re open, and we’re staying safe! To be honest, we never really closed, however, we have strongly encouraged all non-essential workers to stay away from the space until the shelter in place order was lifted. We have been diligently working over through the past year to welcome back everybody else, and can’t wait to see all of your wonderful faces!

So what’s different?

We have been following state and local guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety, including limiting entrance points to direct the flow of traffic, no longer permitting food and drink consumption in the common space, and a new check-in system at the front desk that has been designed around sanitization. We also have a strict mask policy we are enforcing seriously. It may take a little time to get used to the changes, but they’re important to create a safe, and great environment at Cruzioworks.

What other steps are you taking?

You’ll see a lot of subtle changes to the coworking space we think you’ll appreciate:

  • Plexiglass shields for the entire front desk
  • We upgraded our HVAC filters to the EPA recommended MERV13 filters
  • Outdoor desk space for 9-5, 24/7, and Office Members to work in
    the fresh air, and also for a great space to eat and drink.
  • Arrows and floor markings indicating which way traffic should
    flow down a hallway or how far apart you should stand while waiting.
  • Automatic hand sanitizer stations for all meeting rooms and other
    shared areas.
  • Helpful signage encouraging safe behavior
  • Added air purifiers and UV lights to the restrooms
  • A check-in station at the front desk where you can sanitize and
    check for symptoms.
  • Restrooms are now single-occupancy and there are lids on the
    toilets which should be put down after use.

We have reimagined our Atrium space to ensure every desk is spaced 8 to 9 feet apart. Please don’t move these desks! They are spaced to ensure the health and safety of our rad community.

We have reassessed how many people can safely sit in a meeting room together according to county guidelines. Please pay heed to the signage on the doors!

We’re also at a point where we’re ready to take a limited number of new memberships. If you’re looking for a space to work, contact us, we have some great solutions available for you.

Tell me more about this check-in station and floor arrows.

All Cruzioworks members will be required to use the Google Symptom checker at https://landing.google.com/screener/covid19 and sign a clipboard once per day when they first arrive verifying they are symptom-free and haven’t been out of the country in the last two weeks.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are making all doors to the atrium space and workstations ‘exit only’ except for the front door of the lobby. This will help us to ensure everybody checks in and to make sure we can reduce the probability of somebody with symptoms entering the space. We want to stress that while this may be inconvenient, it is truly for the health and safety of everybody at Cruzioworks, the Santa Cruz Community, and beyond.

Can you get into specifics about meeting room capacity? How will this impact my twenty-person model train enthusiast meetings? You know I’m loco for locomotives!

*Sighs* I’m keenly aware of this, choo choo dude. For now, we won’t be having large gatherings, meetings, or events. We ask that you follow occupancy signage for our meeting rooms. The Ross Classroom can safely accommodate 6 people, Edison Meeting Room can hold 1, and Tesla Meeting Room maxes out at 2.

I should probably wear a mask, yeah? I heard you mention that earlier…

Of course, you should! Actually, it’s not in any way a choice. County guidelines require masks indoors, and the recent statewide order requires masks everywhere else. The only time you may remove your mask is if you are in a private office, suite, or meeting room by yourself with the door closed. Per county guidelines, once a guest enters the office you must don your mask. Whether you are working in the corner of the Atrium, or walking back to your meeting room, or even hanging out in your cool private Workstation, a mask is required at all times. Those who do not adhere to these rules will be asked to leave and repeat offenders will risk having their memberships revoked. Sorry, but this is serious folks. If you need a mask, please let us know. We have lovely masks available at the front desk.

I heard you mention food and drinks aren’t allowed in the space either. Can you let me know why??

Until further notice, please avoid eating and drinking in the atrium, including workstations. We have provided outdoor spaces to eat and drink. This is in accordance with our state and local mask policies so as to keep the space as safe as possible. Plus, it’s summer! Go out and get some sun and enjoy the incredible Santa Cruz weather!

Can I still have guests here?

We understand that to run your business, you sometimes need to have guests and clients in the space. All visitors need to check-in at the front desk, follow our entry procedures, and abide by all rules. As usual, you as members are responsible for the behavior of your guests. We’d also strongly encourage you to, whenever possible, meet outside or, better yet, online.

What else can I expect when I enter the building?

We mentioned the check-in station earlier. If you arrive before 9am in the morning, or after 6pm at night because you have a 24/7 membership, please use our check-in and sanitation station on the honor system so we don’t have to bug you later. If you are symptomatic you will be asked to leave and may return 14 days from the onset of symptoms or your encounter with a COVID-positive individual, or following a negative test. We will have digital thermometers on hand if you feel feverish and would like to verify this.

To protect the health of our employees, we request that you maintain at least six feet of distance from Cruzio staff and coworking members whenever possible. And wear your mask!

What should I do if I have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19?

If you have symptoms or test positive with COVID-19 we ask that you notify us immediately so we can conduct contact-tracing and take further steps. We’d also require that you not return to the workspace for at least 14 days and be symptom and med-free for at least 72 hours, or until you’ve tested negative for COVID-19… What are those symptoms again?

People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Back to more practical matters: where’s the printer?

You probably noticed that we moved the printer/copier/fax/scanner. You’ll find it in the very back of the Atrium near the Cruzio Data Center door and Cruzioworks lockers.

How does mail work?

We have fully resumed normal mail delivery. We are no longer on the “opt-in” system we used temporarily during our brief hiatus. If you receive mail at this address you can access your mailbox 24/7. It’s located near the front desk in the main lobby. Please follow arrows on the floor as that hallway is narrow.

How’s Fred doing and when will the Sentinel Cafe reopen?

Fred’s just fine and he’s looking to reopen the cafe, with new health precautions in the coming months. Stay tuned for more information!

What about ventilation? I heard indoor air wasn’t so great…

Glad you asked. We are making sure to open as many windows as we have, turning on fans each day to ensure maximum air circulation, adjusting our thermostats and HVAC units to circulate a larger percentage of outside air, and will be propping doors open when possible. We are also keeping an eye on the science and resources available and will continue to provide whatever safety measures we can. I can’t stress this enough: safety first!

Our Downtown Neighbor Helps Ducks Reach River Safely

Save the ducks! from r/santacruz

When Cruzio and Ecology Action renovated our downtown Santa Cruz building, we put in a lot of plants and trees. Maybe that’s why a family of ducks has used our sidewalk area as their nesting ground for the last several years.

Cruzio’s keenly observant director of Technology and Infrastructure, Chris Frost, has taken note of the ducks for some time, as have a few other employees. We’re always a bit concerned that the duck family has placed itself in the possible path of so many cars.

But so far, things seem to have gone okay. And they keep returning to their, and our, office building home.

This year, one of our excellent neighbors (and a Cruzioworks alum) was videoed helping the mama duck and her many ducklings make their journey down Pacific Avenue to the San Lorenzo River. This involved some busy street crossings, but our friend John, who is a good guy (a “bro” as he’s called in the video) safely shepherded the little family and by all accounts they made it once again. Phew!

Mama and Papa Mallard were also spotted early in the pandemic shutdown, flying through the empty parking garage on Cedar and Church, enjoying the solitude without people and cars. Was that a pre-duckling romantic interlude?

Just in Case: Cruzio Has Extra Backup Power

When the lights are out, Cruzio is on.

Sorry to bring this up amid the pandemic, but PG&E has been indicating that there may be power outages this summer, possibly similar to 2019.

To prepare for such outages, Cruzio invested in an enormous new generator in our downtown headquarters. It’s a backup to our existing backup generator, which is also enormous and powerful. And might be necessary — we want to be sure our network will continue to supply you with internet, even when a power outage lasts for days, as happened last year.

So this spring, while Cruzio was locking doors and sending employees to work from home, our system administrators welcomed the new generator. It’s hooked up, tested, and ready to go ahead of summer’s heat.

Now we wish power outages, which seemed so dire, were all we had to worry about.

Last year our heroic team (particularly Ali and Cam) kept nearly every customer running uninterrupted during the power shutdowns. We will do our best to keep it all going if there are shutdowns — major or minor — this year.

Be ready at home, too: we’ll keep our internet powered, but your home devices like computers and wifi won’t stay up unless you have an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) to plug your equipment into. Last year UPSs and generators were pretty scarce, and very high-priced, during the days-long outages. It’s probably a good idea to make sure you have the backup power you need before anything happens.

Watch Out for COVID-19 Scams

There’s no tragedy that doesn’t attract scammers.

With the Coronavirus, here’s what the FTC says to watch out for.

Basically, a lot of people are looking for funds from the government, whether for small business loans or individual $1200 relief checks. But the processes for receiving these aren’t always clear, and there are delays. That’s a perfect situation for scams.

“Brokers” and “agents” are already approaching people via phone and email, promising quick delivery of payments. Sometimes they pose as a bank or as a government representative.

Another type of scam targets people worrying about their health. Fake vaccines, fake medicine, fake tests.

And as always, be careful to check requests for charitable donations. We like to check Charity Navigator before giving. And it is a good time to consider giving, especially to hospitals and food banks.

To avoid fraudsters, it’s time to keep a sharp eye out. And tell your friends and family to watch out, too.

“No-Contact” Installations

In a time like this, internet access is crucial. Cruzio is taking all the necessary precautions to stay safe while remaining fully operational to serve Santa Cruz County. All staff who are able to work remotely are now working from home. Staff working out in the field have a rigorous protocol to follow that keeps themselves and our customers safe. 



We provide “no contact” installs which eliminate the need to enter your home. Safety procedures for your install begin at the office where our Field Operations teams wear gloves and a mask at all times, and customer equipment is sanitized and boxed up before going to an installation. When a team goes out to install you, they will let you know they have arrived by phone call or a knock on the door. They will complete all of the outside work, leave your router at a window or the front door, then walk at least six feet away as you take the equipment. Then, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to plug in your router. We will perform a speed test outside the house to make sure everything is operating properly, and check with you for any questions before promptly leaving.

That’s our side of the process. We also ask all of our customers to be in communication with us. If anyone in your household or office space is experiencing symptoms of illness, please let us know so that we can reschedule accordingly. There is no charge for a canceled installation when it’s done for health reasons, and we encourage anyone needing to reschedule their survey or installation for health concerns to please do so. Our teams appreciate it!

We look forward to this crisis being over — when we can speak in person with our customers and provide more close-up assistance. Until then, we’re following county and state-standard guidelines to make sure we’re doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 while making sure everyone is connected at home.