Once a year Cruzioworks opens its doors to the community, showcasing local art, food, beer, and wine free to all visitors. We call it the Open House Extravaganza since all our coworkers can join in — it’s a big, big party with multiple hosts.
2018’s 8th annual party went swimmingly, and we say that because the theme was “Under the Sea.”
We introduced our new fiber optic mascot, the Fiberopticpus, beautifully depicted by our ultra-talented graphics artist Ani Bilgutay. We’d planned to just use it for this party, but it’s so great we’re going to keep Fiberopticpuses around in our future ads and decorations.
Octopuses were everywhere: dangling from the ceiling along with fish and shells. And there was a giant inflatable whale. The music system played “Under the Sea” and “Octopus’s Garden” — among other tunes so as not to go overboard.
This year we invited folks to try a trivia game. Families and groups of friends gathered at tables, working on the questions, which were (purposely) incredibly hard. No one got 100%!
Here at Cruzio, in our community by Monterey Bay where we’ve been installing high-speed broadband, we’re very much interested in both octopuses and fiber optics. We adopted the Fiberopticpus, above, as our fiber mascot.
And we created this trivia quiz for our eighth annual Open House Extravaganza. Missed the party? Test your knowledge at home, see how you score! Answer key follows the questions.
Cruzio’s Fiberopticpus Trivia Quiz!
Questions about Fiber:
1. What color(s) are the fibers in a fiberoptic cable
5. Octopuses can change color to precisely match their environment with chromatophores, or pigment cells, in their skin. Translated into a graphics program format, how many dots per inch (dpi) does the skin appear to have?
Our first all-fiber neighborhood is complete in downtown Santa Cruz and we’re busily lighting up the first homes and businesses with scorching Gigabit Fiber Internet. It’s been a long and challenging construction project but it’s done, and now downtown Santa Cruz has a broadband infrastructure asset in place that will fuel creativity and growth for decades to come.
We’ve been super-stoked by all the positive feedback we’ve received from businesses and residents. It’s been really gratifying to hear how many local businesses and residents realize the value of competitive, Net Neutral, truly superior broadband to their homes and businesses, and see the long-term positive effect this new infrastructure is going to have on our downtown.
We’re on the lookout for neighborhoods who need better broadband – let us know!”
The City of Santa Cruz has been a helpful partner too, utilizing their own “dig once” policies to join the project and connecting several key City-owned sites. We love thinking big and we’re ready to revisit the city-wide partnership, or some other big project any time. If you think the City of Santa Cruz should prioritize broadband, let them know!
So what’s next? Well, a lot more network growth, a lot more broadband deployment and more and more gigabit speeds. Even as we’ve been building the downtown fiber, we’ve been expanding our fiber-wireless coverage in new areas and offering new 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps connections. We’ve already boosted and bolstered our fiber-backed network on the Westside, in Live Oak and in Watsonville, adding more and more redundancy and reliability and hooking up several big buildings and businesses to crazy-fast direct fiber.
More Gigabit Neighborhoods to Come!
Once we’ve hooked up the early adopters in the downtown neighborhood and we’re comfortable we’re seeing a successful business model, we’ll start looking for our next fiber ‘hood — which could be a residential neighborhood, an apartment complex or HOA, or another awesome mobile home park like trendsetting El Rio.
The best news is, new technology that’s emerging means we’ll be able to offer more and more gigabit service in an ever-expanding area. Where fiber makes sense, we’ll build fiber; where fiber-backed wireless makes more sense, we’ll use that technology. We’ve worked with businesses to link their separate facilities, city and county governments to bring free wifi to public places. We’re growing steadily and we’re also on the lookout for neighborhoods who need better broadband — so let us know!
We base our decisions on a simple question: what is best for our customers? To us, what makes sense is to use the best-of-breed technologies to connect as many people as we possibly can to the best possible broadband. Every Cruzio customer, whether fiber, wireless or Velocity, coworking or colo, helps build our network around the County. That’s the Cruzio way.
Cruzio’s building a world-class independent, Net Neutral network as fast as we can.
One thing that’s helped us is the law (the Telecommunications Act of 1996) that’s given companies like Cruzio the right to lease phone lines from AT&T while we construct our own. After all, the phone and cable companies had a head start on us with publicly enforced monopoly contracts while they built.
To level the playing field, the law says independent ISPs can rent the copper that goes to homes and offices. That’s how Cruzio delivers Velocity and DSL. In some areas, Cruzio’s Velocity speeds are great. In other areas, it’s the only service people can get.
We’re building fiber fast, but in the meantime copper is helping us survive and helping customers have an independent choice.
Now the phone company’s pushing to end customer choice on their lines — the lines customers are paying for. They say independent ISPs don’t need access to the copper lines and central offices any more. AT&T wants to start by raising our rental rates sky high and then, if they’re allowed, cutting us off and removing lines altogether when and where they choose.
That hurt Cruzio and other independent ISPs in communities all over the country. It would weaken and even kill already-scarce ISP competition. And without competition in an unregulated market, prices rise and service quality falls.
So on your way to the fight for Net Neutrality (which is going pretty well in California, thanks to public action), please take a moment and let the FCC know you’re opposed to their proposed change — it’s called “forbearance.” Visit savecompetition.com to register your views.
“You won’t ever need another connection because this one is so good.”
At Cruzio, August 30th was Fiber Day. It’s the day we lit up the first customer in our first all-fiber neighborhood.
Fiber Day capped the first, we hope, of Cruzio’s many Santa Cruz Fiber neighborhood projects. Our first neighborhood covers most of downtown Santa Cruz.
Fiber — that means fast internet. The fastest internet. At $49.95 per month. Unprecedented. (By the way, are you in neighborhood 1? Then by all means, sign up now!)
Construction isn’t easy or cheap, but we had to build. There just isn’t good infrastructure available, so Cruzio took the plunge (into the earth, literally) and constructed an underground fiber network to every house, every office building, and every apartment complex in the area [see map].
This was a huge, multi-million dollar local investment by a small local company. No public dollars or grants were used. Eyes wide open: for future builds, we know that we can’t reach every part of the county without outside investment. We’ll need partners, and for the next expansion we’ll be looking for partners who are willing to go along with our principles — especially Net Neutrality and privacy for our customers.
In the meantime, we continue to expand our fiber in smaller increments. If you’re not in the first neighborhood, and you’re interested in fiber speeds, we’d love to hear from you.
What Will Gigabit Speeds Mean to You?
Now that construction’s complete, we can offer connections to the fastest network you could imagine. The interior cables are made of spun glass, which means that data travels at the speed of light. Fiber optics are safer (they don’t get hot, they’re not “live”) and use far less energy than older cable and phone lines. The network is overbuilt, meaning we’ve got pretty much unlimited capacity for any internet anyone wants for the next several decades.
Yup, decades. You won’t ever need another connection because this one is so good.
Any of These Interest You? AI,AR/VR/XR, HD, 4K, 5K, 3D
We want everyone in the county to have what we’ve had for many years at our building: scorching Gigabit internet — so much internet that it takes mere seconds to download a Netflix movie or upload your home video of a cat trying to sneak past a Great Dane.
Gaming, telecommuting, publishing, backing up data. AI, AR/VR/XR, HD, 4K, 5K, 3D. Symmetric downloads and uploads. All of these, and whatever crazy internet activities lie ahead, become a snap with a Santa Cruz Fiber connection.
And it’s local. And Net Neutral. And Cruzio respects your privacy.
Is Cruzio Competitive? Why, Yes
Now it’s time to make the first project a commercial success so we can build more. Our business plan shows we need to connect at least 33% of the people who live and work in the area in order to go forward with our next phase.
To make sure we get that level of market share, we’re “making an offer you can’t refuse.” Live or work downtown? We’ll give you a better connection than you can get anywhere else — a gigabit per second for $49.95/mo. That’s a price lower than what our competitors charge for way slower services.
Not to mention, again, the Net Neutrality and privacy Cruzio stands behind. That’s important to you and important to us. Plus we’re local and known for our customer service. We’re hoping you’ll subscribe and tell all your neighbors, too.
So join our network, help us get to more of the county and be rewarded with great, inexpensive internet at a low price. Just sign up here.
“Our Trailer park is right past the edge of your map,” she told us. “Can you extend the build over to us?”
El Rio Mobile Home Park, nestled by the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, has a lot of stories to tell. And now it has one more: the fastest internet of any mobile home park in the country. Working with Cruzio Internet, residents of this cool park can now get scorching Gigabit internet for only $50 per month. It’s one of the first Santa Cruz Fiber neighborhoods.
El Rio was founded as a fishing resort in the early 20th century, when salmon ran abundantly in the river. Newspaper clippings, nearly a century old, are in frames on the walls of its community center. There’s a proud history here.
Walking through the park, cars drive by only occasionally and the posted speeds are slow… and slower. As you walk in front of the single- and double-wides, park residents nod “hello” in a friendly way, especially if you’re wearing a Cruzio hat. They’re ecstatic about the new fiber internet. They know they’re special. But it wasn’t just luck — they asked for, and worked for, a better internet choice.
It took many months to get from planning to building to lighting the new Gigabit Fiber Internet, but the first customer watched her speed jump by a factor of 100 on the very first day. That person is also largely responsible for the park getting the network. Her name is Hilary Hamm, and she’s a Fiber Champion.
Cruzio Called for Champions
Early in our planning, we put out a call for neighborhood “champions” — people who wanted to get fiber to their street and were willing to talk to neighbors about it.
We were working on a big project: building fiber to every home and business in the City of Santa Cruz as a start and moving on from there. (Ultimately, Cruzio would like to cover the whole county with high-speed fiber and fiber-backed internet — that’s always been the goal.) That ambitious plan was slowed down as we decided to start with a single neighborhood pilot project.
Our first all-fiber neighborhood is the area around our data center and coworking facility. That’s a diverse, well-populated area in downtown Santa Cruz and a pretty ambitious project — we received no grants and no government funding. We met regularly with our Champions, presenting them with our maps and plans as we created them. And one champion had a comment.
Hilary Understood What Fiber Could Mean For Her Community
“Our trailer park is right past the edge of your map,” she told us. “Can you extend the build to cover us?”
We’ll certainly consider it, we said. But she’d need to get it approved, since the park is privately owned and managed by its residents.
Hilary and our team explained the possibilities to the park’s Board of Directors (she’s on the Board herself), and they approved. Because the neighborhood was so close to our build, and because her neighbors were enthusiastic — many of them already Cruzio customers — we did as she suggested. We increased our project just enough to cover the whole park.
What did we offer? Hilary let her neighbors know about Cruzio’s deal, which is what every other customer in the fiber neighborhood gets:
-Cruzio built fiber to every home in the mobile home park
-No charge for construction, no setup fees for customers
-Gigabit-per-second speeds for only $49.95/mo
-No obligation. No charges at all unless our service is purchased
-No contracts. No data caps. No throttling
-Net Neutral, open internet
-Unlike major carriers, we don’t collect and sell customers’ private information
Now we’re seeing those scorching speeds inside the mobile homes. Residents are going to be able to do everything a high-powered tech worker can do at a desk in downtown San Francisco or LA. But they can do it sitting in their home.
That’s So Santa Cruz
It’s a pretty Santa Cruz-y thing to light up a neighborhood of regular folks first, before getting to the larger businesses. We believe the internet’s for everybody and we’re proud to make it happen for this friendly community.
We believe El Rio is now the best-connected trailer park in the country!
Thanks Hilary! You’re a true Champion.
If you think your neighborhood needs better internet and would like to talk to us about being a Fiber Champion, please get in touch! We’re waiting to hear from you.
Cruzio’s spent many months and millions of dollars building fiber infrastructure under the streets of downtown Santa Cruz.
This is Santa Cruz Fiber’s first fiber-to-the-premises project, and we’ve supplemented by serving a much wider part of the County with fiber-fed fixed wireless connections — extending that fiber’s effect far and wide.
Fundamentally, we’re moving from a dependence on old copper infrastructure to brand new connections which will provide much higher data rates — higher and higher for decades to come. And we’re getting these services to as many people as we can as fast as we can.
We feel it’s a great investment for us and our community.
There’s still another big step before every location in the fiber area is “lit up” and getting the hyper-fast service. After the construction finishes up in the next few weeks, Cruzio needs to finalize and test the brand-new cables and connect them to our data center. Then we’ll “drop” the connections from our street fiber vaults directly to the homes and offices who’ve ordered service.
So we’ll be contacting people who’ve signed up for fiber in the next few months. We’re expecting to be all finished in October, with many locations served in the interim months.
That means now is a great time to sign up for fiber if you haven’t yet. Contact us and let us know you want it.
“Price/speed for downtown fiber and certified buildings: $49.95/mo, 1 gigabit (1,000 megeabits) per second”
There’s still another big step before every location in the fiber area is “lit up” and getting the hyper-fast service. After the construction finishes up in the next few weeks, Cruzio needs to finalize and test the brand-new cables and connect it to our data center. Then we will “drop” the connections from our street fiber vaults directly to the homes and offices who’ve ordered service.
So we’ll be contacting people who’ve signed up for fiber in the next few months. We’re expecting to be finished in October.
That means now is a great time to sign up for fiber if you haven’t yet. Contact us and let us know you want it.
After the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality last December, Congress missed its chance to block the change. On June 11th, the repeal became official.
So at the federal level, Net Neutrality is done. Gone. Like a dead parrot, it is no more.
But there’s still hope for Net Neutrality. California could do it.
As we know, California is a big, powerful state. A California Net Neutrality law would have a lot of weight. Some state representatives recently offered two separate bills to establish a California version of Net Neutrality. And not to brag, but our own State Senator, Bill Monning, was a co-sponsor on the stronger of the two bills! Yay Bill. Next, the bills were combined. We had high hopes. And then…
What Happened to the Net Neutrality Bill?
Corporate lobbyists for AT&T, who just won several battles on the federal level, didn’t sit idly while California deliberated. The bill supporting Net Neutrality — which is extremely popular — was nonetheless edited late at night, in committee, in a hurry.
Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), who’s received $29,000 in campaign contributions from large ISPs this election cycle and doubtless expects more to come, led the process, and didn’t allow debate. The bill was watered down so much that its author, Scott Wiener of San Francisco, disassociated himself from it.
“This committee has turned the bill into one that doesn’t protect net neutrality,” said Wiener.
Read more about the “tense Assembly committee meeting” here.
What’s next? There will be another Assembly committee — Privacy and Consumer Protection — meeting on the bill soon. Will California wake up and protect Net Neutrality? Or will state representatives continue to cave to pressure from some of the biggest companies in the country — AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Spectrum? Follow the gritty details on Steve Blum’s blog at TellusVenture.com.
Again, the best step we can take right now is to let our state representatives know it’s important. Our local reps are on the right side, but it’s easy for politicians to let things slide if we don’t express our views.
Cruzio’s staff all pitched in to help customers update settings. What’s it like at Cruzio when we’re all focused on a single project? It looks like this:
A lot of people stopped by with laptops, phones, even desktop computers. A lot of people got help. Everyone remained calm and cheerful. Good work team!
If you use a Cruzio-supplied email address (see the list on our FAQ) you just saw a big improvement in service. Larger mailbox capacity, bigger per-message sizes, more robust system, better spam filters.
And Cruzio’s email system still upholds our values: we don’t harvest your personal information and sell it like most providers.
It was a big job, and there’s still work remaining. Out of over 7,000 email boxes upgraded, we expect some people haven’t yet updated their settings, and we are here to assist. Check our FAQ for some common answers and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help!
Kudos to Our Lovely Staff
Upgrading such an important service for such a large number of people took a lot of planning, and our endlessly talented project manager Adia Schamber did an amazing job. So did indomitable Chief Systems Engineer Mark Hanford, who led the work on the engineering, making sure that nothing was lost and everything was doubly backed up.
So many of our lovely staff worked extra hard to make sure every email customer was updated as quickly as possible. It’s impossible to name each and every staff member individually (check the bottom of the newsletter for their names!), but we know our customers appreciate them. We got many compliments in the mail, on Yelp, etc. — and we always love compliments. Thanks, everyone, for recognizing our efforts, and enjoy the improved service!
Seems like news about telecommunications companies comes from one direction after another — the headlines are dizzying.
Why should we care about these titans clashing and marrying? Because their function, in part, is to deliver information. People use that information to make decisions, notably political decisions.
Here’s the future, if the big corporations have their way: the largest ISPs will continue to consolidate their near-monopoly market share. At the same time — through the repeal of Net Neutrality — they’ll use that market strength to either own or to demand payments from content companies, like HBO, Netflix, or YouTube. Channels or websites who don’t pay won’t be easily available. That means smaller companies will be boxed out.
How can this be okay? The cover story for merging monopolies is that no company will invest in infrastructure unless they are freed from competition — which is odd, because every other business has to compete. And as for Net Neutrality, the non-Neutral model is cable TV, not the internet we’re familiar with.
Cruzio and other independent ISPs are competition. We’re not welcome in this paradigm. In the early days of the internet, companies like ours made Net Neutrality the lay of the land. Larger ventures like AOL and Genie couldn’t compete with an open internet. Their “closed garden” models had to give way. But as competitors are being driven out, will openness survive?