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/contact 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

Cats on Computers

Many Cruzio staff members have been working from home for over a year now.

Cruzio’s  logo is a kitty, at a computer of course. And it’s based on our real life experience. During the pandemic, our cats often join us at work. So helpful!

 

 

Cam found that his cat almost matched our logo.

Cam's cat does the Cruzio KItty

 

Other cats— this is Milton — simply fill in where needed. Sorry, James. Seat taken.

cat on office chair

 

When it’s meal time, the cat gets a little closer.
Hello Iasha. Remember a little thing called feed me now?

Nala over the monitor

 

And drawers are not just for pencils. This is Fulton, who is “always sleeping on the job” according to his person, Chris Frost

Sleeping on the job

 

Checking email in bed? So is Thursday, Carly’s foster kitten

kitten with iphone

 

And we’re going to sneak a pup in here. Ziggy’s watching his shows.

Ziggy with an ipad

 

Sometimes a kitty’s just got to take a bath, gracefully but firmly, right on the keyboard

cat on keyboard

 

Or drift off to sleep, longing for the “return” of her person, and perhaps a nice dinner to boot

Nala presses Return

Dogs in Blankets

Cruzio’s logo is a cat, but we also love dogs. While working from home, Cruzio staff have been uploading pictures of their canine companions and we noticed a trend. What’s with dogs and blankets?

Yes, there is a dog in here:

Murray under blankets

 

It’s Murray!

Murray in a blanket

 

Sometimes, Murray seems to be using the Force.

 

Ziggy also uses the Force, but is not yet achieving the Jedi Master level of calm. It’s been suggested that Ziggy is with the Dark Side, but we don’t buy it. He’s a good boy.

ziggy under a blanket

 

And then there’s Max’s dog Wasabi, who prefers the burrito, or rather the “dogrito,” blanket configuration

 

Ziggy is often ensconced in luxurious comfort but never seems calm

ziggy with 3 blankets

 

Back to Murray. In one of his many blankets. Murray has it down to an art

 

And as Murray’s person,  Jesus, mentions, Murray will completely immerse himself in blankets, exposing only a sniffer to ensure no treats are missed. Extra points for the four-blanket configuration, the current record.

Yes, Murray does this all by himself.

 

Finally, one cat who likes blankets too. G’night!

Cat in blankets

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 Acess Santa Cruz website or share from Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

From Cruzio’s CEO: First the Good News

Casual cat in car

Click on the photo to see more Cruzio pandemic pet pictures

There is good news among the ruins of 2020. For Cruzio, it’s that we’ve brought nearly 100 low-income families online, helping kids with online learning and seniors stay connected.

And we expect to connect hundreds more in the near future. Our upcoming project is the Buena Vista Migrant Center — till now they’ve had no broadband. About 140 children live in the housing there. Read the inspiring story of local resident Juan Morales-Rocha’s vision to connect the camp.

What we’re doing

Luckily, Cruzio is in a position to get Buena Vista and other communities access to the internet they need, quickly. And you can help, too! (There’s a donation button at the bottom of this newsletter.)

The Community Foundation has been a game changer. Where other efforts have fallen flat, philanthropy is enabling real progress in internet equity. The Foundation has set up a fund for donations to Equal Access Santa Cruz and we’re happy to announce that Driscoll’s, the Watsonville Rotary Club, and many anonymous donors have made contributions, ranging from single dollars to hundreds of thousands. We’re really making a difference to kids’ lives — and children are our county’s future.

Why it’s needed

In a place as prosperous as Santa Cruz County, why is there a need for subsidized internet? Because not everyone has affordable wifi in their home, and it makes a huge difference to their lives.

People who don’t have much money often rely on their phones for internet. That means capped bandwidth and, often, poor reception — not suitable for sustained connections. Or they try to find a coffee shop or fast food place where they can catch some wifi, which is even harder in the pandemic.

There’s even a story of a nine-year-old boy who went and sat at his pandemic-emptied school every day, because the internet was still working there and he needed to do his homework.

It’s kids like that who make us determined to help.

Real Progress

First by connecting school parking lots, but more importantly by connecting homes, schools, and community centers, Cruzio and our partners are getting true high-speed internet to those who need it, free in the short term and for just over $15 per month for, at least, the next 3 years.

That will help a lot of children with online learning. It will help families find the information and assistance they need in the pandemic and beyond. It will help seniors stay connected to their families and social services.

It will help us all in the long run, because Santa Cruz County needs our children to grow up informed and prepared for our future.

And people in our county have really stepped up. First the schools reached out to Cruzio. the County Office of Education and the Pajaro Valley School District saw the problem and acted quickly. They determine what families are eligible for subsidized internet and provide us with prioritized lists, so we can tackle the hardest hit households first.

Then, when Cruzio was exhausting our own resources, the Community Foundation set up their fund to help us pay to wire buildings, buy equipment, and pay for data transport to the rest of the internet. We can’t do it alone, and the Community foundation gave us a way to keep going.

Add a small amount to your monthly bill to help a family who needs internet

Equally heart-warming: many Cruzio customers have added nominal amounts to their monthly bill, which helps us maintain subsidized service to families on local schools’ priority lists.  (If you’d like to do micro-donations through your Cruzio bill, go here.)

We’re grateful and proud that our community is joining us in the project. It’s been a hard year, but it’s a good time to live in Santa Cruz.

Do you know someone who might qualify for subsidized internet?

Cruzio doesn’t try to vet applicants for eligibility for these programs: there are organizations in the county which do that. We just build the network where we’re told.

If you know a student who may be eligible for subsidized internet, tell them to contact their local school district head office.

If you know a senior who may be eligible, they can go to http://www.seniorcomputer.com

Now onto the horror show that’s been 2020.

Who’s Working from Home? The Pet Edition, Vol. II

 

Many of us spent a lot more time with our pets than ever before. We shared our funny photos with our colleagues on a company Slack.

New dog in the house! Not coming out.

 

Bath day sucks

Lana sparkles in her cone. What a trooper!

 

Georgie was looking casual in the laundry basket, so a friend went into Photoshop and…

Georgie’s attitude is much more appropriate in a sports car

There’s a small intruder in my house and he keeps insisting he’s Toby Jones.”
Who’s Toby Jones?

 

This highly respected British actor. Or a puppy. Hard to tell them apart.

 

This happens to everybody who has a cat, doesn’t it? You want to get up, but…

 

There is a dog here somewhere

 

These are not taken on the same day. Murray and the blankets are a constant.

And finally, another celebrity look-alike pet, this one is…

Mother TheresaMother Theresa!

Santa Cruz County Students Speak Out About Internet

Cruzio has been working with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District for months to get reliable, fast internet to all the students who need it. We’ve been installing high speed broadband at their homes since springtime and have connected about 50 families so far.

And we love these students. They’ve been in online classes for weeks now and they’ve been telling us how much it means to have a good connection.

Here’s who they are and what they have to say! We’re hoping they stay in touch so we can see where they are years from now. We suspect we’re looking a the future leaders of our county — maybe a mayor or a county supervisor in the bunch.

First, a couple of middle schoolers made videos and they’re fantastic. Karyna even translated her statement into Spanish after she speaking with impressive poise in English. As Cruzio’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Jesus Lopez, put it: “I’m not crying, you’re crying.”

Eddie video

 


We’re also enjoying some photos and quotes from other bright kids:

This is a fantastic family from Freedom: Mom and Dad Johnna and Daniel, and son Isaiah.

Lopez family

“It was difficult at first for me to do my school work because I had no Internet connection.  Now that we have it with Cruzio, I am able to communicate with my teacher all the time and do my school work.  I no longer have glitches when I am participating in class.”

— Isaiah, Freedom Elementary Student

“When Distance Learning began, we had no Internet and we needed it.  Being connected was extremely necessary and Cruzio provided the opportunity so my son could participate in classes. “

— Father: Daniel 


Another awesome family. We’ve been so impressed with the efforts of both parents and kids to keep up with schoolwork in the pandemic. How about this fantastic trio:

Lesly, Elizabeth, and Melissa

“It has been great having constant access to the Internet! I can hear my teachers clearly and there is no lagging in my connection.”

— EA Hall Student, Lesly

“Para mi este servicio fue muy bueno porque no tenia Internet en casa y me dieron la oportunidad de tenerlo en casa gratis durante tres meses. Cruzio instalo la antena y proporciono el cable totalmente gratis y ahora pago $14.99 al mes.”

— Elizabeth , Lesly’s mom

Translation- “For me, this service was great because I did not have internet access at home and they gave me the opportunity to have it free for three months. Cruzio installed the antenna and cable totally free and now I pay only $14.99 per month.”


Looks like Mahia enjoys our foggy coastal weather…  Another great kid with lots of promise.

Mahia

“Having Internet helped go to school and participate in the classes I’m in. I am able to do my homework and I don’t need to go out to look for free Internet. I was a bit scared when I had to park to get Internet to do my class work.”

— Mahia, Aptos Jr High student

“Para mi, un bill era un gasto más pero los hotspots no siempre funcionan.  Busque opciones de Internet de bajo costo pero no encontraba.  Mi hija y yo usabamos el Internet público en la biblioteca de la ciudad o en algún otro lugar donde hubiera Internet gratis y nos quedabamos en el carro para que hiciera sus trabajos escolares.  El gerente de Cruzio, quien hablaba español –  algo muy importante para mí, nos ayudó muchísimo y pudimos conectarnos al Internet en casa a un costo más aceptable para mí después de recibirlo gratis por tres meses.”

— Mother: Rosario

Translation- For me, another bill was one more expense, and our mobile hotspots didn’t always work well. I looked around for low-cost Internet options but could not find any. My daughter and I used the public internet in the city library or any other place where there was free internet and we stayed in the car until she was able to complete her school work. Cruzio’s manager, who spoke Spanish – which is something very important to me, helped us a lot and we were able to connect to the internet at home at a reasonable cost after receiving it free for three months

By the way, the Cruzio manager Mahia’s mother refers to is Jesus Lopez, who worked tirelessly to make sure all the families were well-informed and comfortable with getting internet installed in their homes.

It’s been hard getting Jesus to stop calling every single family, but now our field ops and front desk staffers Carlos Serna and Antonio Guizar Orosco have been helping, too. Thanks, Carlos and Tony!

A Letter from Cruzio’s CEO

dog in fire meme

How are things in Santa Cruz? Thanks for asking.

The ongoing COVID health crisis was augmented two weeks ago by extremely hot weather that kicked off sudden county-wide power blackouts.

While we were coping with the unusual heat, and worrying about whether more blackouts would come, Santa Cruz County had a pre-dawn lightning storm of terrific force on August 16th. Hundreds of lightning strikes dotted our county, from over the bay to our inland forested mountains. It was beautiful and scary.

We were, it turned out, right to be scared because the lightning set off a number of fires deep in wooded areas. The fires quickly spread in the hot, dry weather and 77,000 people were evacuated as tens of thousands of square acres burned out of control over the next couple of days.

The lightning storms hadn’t just hit Santa Cruz County. The rest of California suffered, too. Fires were started up and down the state — over 600 wildfires in all. It was impossible to address so many fires at once. The state’s resources were stretched thin. As the fires spread, residents were forced to leave their homes.

Evacuees included several Cruzio staffers, and hundreds of our customers. And it appears that some members of the Cruzio community lost their homes.

Those of us who remained in the unevacuated parts of Santa Cruz breathed air full of ash particles, and our homes smelled like smoke. Friends and family from the mountains are still sleeping on our couches, and we have our go-bags ready in case the wind takes a bad turn and we all have to — as the official notices put it — “get out.”

Through all this, we’ve still had to maintain social-distancing, mask-wearing, and generally care due to the pandemic.

So that’s how this month is going.

At Cruzio, we’re constantly reminded, during difficult times, how vital internet service is. Times of crisis raise the need. We had to anticipate damage from the fire and figure out how to prevent damage to our infrastructure. We knew people needed to pore over fire maps and get notices via email.

This means that all Cruzio staff were on alert this week, some losing days of sleep as we monitored and reacted to searing heat, power outages, and fire. Our staff lives here — as do our customers — and we’re fiercely dedicated to successful and safe outcomes for our community. We may suffer glitches and partial outages when the situation becomes overwhelming, but we are not complacent. We fight tooth and nail to keep our services running.

We don’t have to look far for inspiration. The firefighters battling this new and impossible complex of blazes are our heroes and we’re doing whatever we can to help them, as well as people who’ve gone to local shelters, and all those working in the systems which have to kick into place at times like these. Cruzio’s backbone connections are supporting the Santa Cruz Civic and Watsonville Fairgrounds evacuation sites. We’ve provided cameras for fire watch sites. We’ve reached out to government offices all over the county: what can Cruzio do to help?

Meanwhile we’re supporting our staff as best we can. We won’t put them in perilous situations. We try to help those who’ve been evacuated from their homes. Cruzio is focused on keeping internet running, which is a big job, while understanding that we, too, are humans who need a place to sleep.

As the days tick by, Cruzio is ready to help. A team like ours is part of a strong, resilient community, and we are working with organizations around the county to maintain communication services and help people find answers and find each other.  We put our staff’s names at the bottom of every newsletter — we’re proud of their work, especially now, especially this month.

Stay safe, Santa Cruz. Stay strong, it’s up to us to get our neighbors through this tough time.

Under Smoky Skies

Cruzio’s team roams Santa Cruz County, putting up and maintaining communications infrastructure. We’re often in high places: on rooftops or mountain peaks, and we had great views of the thing that’s been hovering above us for the last several days: the smoke-filled sky.

Cruzio has a lot of talented photographers on staff, and they posted photos of what they were seeing.

What Started the Fires

A lightning storm before dawn on Sunday, August 16th. Santa Cruz almost never gets lightning, but that night was wild. The storm was accompanied by little or no rain.

From a weather app, Sunday, August 16th, 4:26 am.

From a weather app, Sunday, August 16th, 4:26 am.

From Above

From high up where some of Cruzio’s facilities are located, we can see big changes occurring when the wind shifts and fire kicks up. First a trail of smoke rises, then the hills are laid over with creeping grey, and then, sometimes, the wind changes and skies are blue again.

Monday mountaintop:

View from Loma Prieta, Monday August 17th, 2020.

View from Loma Prieta, Monday August 17th, 2020. Photo by John Beardwood.

 

Wednesday mountaintop:

View from Loma Prieta Mountain, Wednesday August 19, 2020.

View from Loma Prieta, Monday August 17th, 2020. Photo by John Beardwood.

View from Loma Prieta Mountain, Weds August 19th

View from Loma Prieta Mountain, Weds August 19th. Photo by Cameron Kennedy.

 

View from Loma Prieta Mountain, Weds August 19th

View from Loma Prieta Mountain, Weds August 19th. Photo by Cameron Kennedy.

Friday mountaintop:

Looking towards Gilroy Friday, August 19th, 2020

Looking towards Gilroy Friday, August 19th, 2020. Alison Lowenthal.

Looking towards Gilroy Friday, August 19th, 2020

Looking towards Gilroy Friday, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Alison Lowenthal.

Note: the skies were blue on Friday, but that’s because the wind was favorable to that particular mountaintop that morning. Conditions are still shifting, and blue skies often give way to overhead smoke.

 

Around Santa Cruz County

When Cruzio staff are driving around town, it’s been almost eerie. As Field Operations staffer Sonya says “I said it before and I’ll say it again, It looks like an apocalypse movie.”

In the last week, the sky has gone from grey-yellow to various shades of orange, with occasional spots of blue peering through. The sun? A glowering red circle.

When the sky was orange

 

West Side Santa Cruz Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Sonya Campbell.

West Side Santa Cruz Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Sonya Campbell.

 

On a roof. West Side Santa Cruz Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Sonya Campbell.

On a roof. West Side Santa Cruz Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Sonya Campbell.

Laurel Street, Santa Cruz, Wednesday, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Hans Morales.

Laurel Street, Santa Cruz, Wednesday, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Hans Morales.

East Side Santa Cruz, Wednesday, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Mark Hanford.

East Side Santa Cruz, Wednesday, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Mark Hanford.

 

Monterey Bay from West Cliff Drive, Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Peggy Dolgenos.

Monterey Bay from West Cliff Drive, Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Peggy Dolgenos.

 

"Mood," Wednesday, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Jason Smidt.

“Mood,” Wednesday, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Jason Smidt.

 

877 Cedar Street, Thursday, August 20th, 2020. Photo by Evan Powers.

877 Cedar Street, Thursday, August 20th, 2020. Photo by Evan Powers.

 

When the sky was grey

 

Rooftop, Santa Cruz, Thursday August 20th, 2020. Photo by Cameron Kennedy.

Rooftop, Santa Cruz, Thursday August 20th, 2020. Photo by Cameron Kennedy.

First photo, Capitola, Friday August 21st, 2020. Photo by Evan Powers.

First photo, Capitola, Friday August 21st, 2020. Photo by Evan Powers.

Five minutes later, much worse. Capitola, Friday August 21st, 2020. Photo by Evan Powers.

Five minutes later, much worse. Capitola, Friday August 21st, 2020. Photo by Evan Powers.

Air quality on Friday, August 21st, 2020. Photo by Jason Smidt.

Air quality on Friday, August 21st, 2020. Photo by Jason Smidt.

 

Our Trucks in Many Places

Our staff has traveled all around the county and up into the Bay Area when necessary to maintain and repair equipment. Cruzio staff have uploaded some photos of our heroic trucks looking out over a smoke- and fire-colored landscape.

Cruzio's truck on Loma Prieta, Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Cameron Kennedy.

Cruzio’s truck on Loma Prieta, Weds, August 19th, 2020. Photo by Cameron Kennedy.

Cruzio truck on Bay Street, Thursday, August 20th, 2020. Photo by Sonya Campbell.

Cruzio truck on Bay Street, Thursday, August 20th, 2020. Photo by Sonya Campbell.

 

Why Communications Can Sometimes be Difficult

And here’s a picture from a security camera on a communications tower in Bonny Doon, as the tower was engulfed by fire and destroyed.

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.”