The Time Has Come: Santa Cruz Fiber is Beginning Construction in Downtown Santa Cruz!

Cruzio celebrates the approval of our permits, and gets ready to begin construction

The Santa Cruz City Council has unanimously approved encroachment permits for Santa Cruz Fiber, our much-anticipated high-speed fiber project, to begin building the first segment of our citywide fiber optic network immediately. The broadband upgrade will provide internet speeds of 1 Gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second to both businesses and residents alike, and allow for even faster speeds further down the line. This also includes the launch of an upgraded suite of “fiber-backed” services, like Wireless Pro, throughout the entire County under the Santa Cruz Fiber brand.

With the permit’s approval, construction in the downtown area is expected to begin in early June and continue through July. We’ll be using a construction technique called “horizontal boring,” that allows us to install the fiber conduit with minimal street trenching, and almost no traffic interruptions.

The construction map we’re using to lay fiber throughout our first neighborhood.

And if you happen to own a multi-unit in the downtown area, you’re encouraged to contact us directly if you’re interested in getting fiber to your buildings. We’ll be connecting not just single homes, but even large buildings entirely free of charge during the initial buildout phase.

“Building entrances to large units can cost thousands of dollars,” said Cruzio’s Director of Infrastructure & Technology, Chris Frost. “But it’s so important to downtown that we connect as many buildings as possible, we’re willing to absorb those costs if we can include them in the initial construction.”

If you’re interested in getting fiber to your home or business, you can also take advantage of the introductory price of $49.95/month for a Gigabit connection during the first 3 months of the network going live. We’ll also completely waive your setup and installation fees if you’re a new customers in this initial phase.

“That’s less expensive and about 10 times faster than any comparable service available today,” said Cruzio and Santa Cruz Fiber CEO, Peggy Dolgenos. “It’s critical to us that we launch with a service that everyone can afford so no one is excluded from these game-changing new internet speeds.”

This is a gargantuan step forward for the Fiber project, and we can’t wait to get downtown-and eventually all of Santa Cruz County-connected to gigabit speeds.

 

Our Best Deal Ever: Get A Gig for Just 49.95/mo

 

Cruzio’s cutting the price for our Santa Cruz Fiber gigabit service in half.

We often talk about how great our gigabit internet services are, from how they can improve your company’s bottom line to how they can help keep more jobs in Santa Cruz County–and cause fewer commuters to go over the hill. Now, we want to make sure as many people as possible can experience these speeds for themselves. That’s why we’re cutting cutting our regular price in half.

We’re excited to say: From today until 8/31/17, if you live or work in one of Cruzio’s certified buildings, you can get gigabit internet for a full year for just 49.95 a month. Still no contracts, still no extra fees, and still no data caps. It’s just some of the fastest speeds in the country, for the lowest price you’ll find anywhere.  

We’re incredibly proud of our gigabit services, and of all the certified buildings we’ve connected. We want as many people as possible to try it out because we know it’s a game changer, a generational change. And what’s available in Certified Buildings today will be coming soon to other parts of the City as we roll out our Santa Cruz Fiber project. We’re planning on the same speeds, same price for everybody.

If you live in one of our certified buildings, you can head over to santacruzfiber.com and plug your address into our handy pre-qualification tool. From there, you’ll be able to reach out to us and we’ll help you get connected as soon as we can.

If you’re not in a currently Certified Building, but you live in an apartment or condo development, or work in a multi-tenant office, Cruzio/Santa Cruz Fiber can quickly start the process. We’ll survey the building and talk to the landlord or HOA, all free of charge. Once a building’s Certified, every apartment or office can choose to subscribe to our service.

And if you’re not in a big building, check out our fiber project. We are figuring out where to build based on neighborhood interest. We’ll put your information on our map and include you in the plans.

Our half-price deal truly is unprecedented, but please don’t just take our word for it. There’s never been a better time to try out gigabit internet for yourself. We’re confident that you’ll be talking about how great it is as much as we do.

Santa Cruz Fiber Project is Full Steam Ahead

Cruzio’s Santa Cruz Fiber project to bring gigabit-speed fiber internet to all of Santa Cruz is taking its next big step forward this month, as final permits are set to be approved for construction of the downtown portion of the high-speed network.

Since 2015, Cruzio and the City of Santa Cruz have been working on a citywide fiber project. As the project progressed and data was gathered on initial and ongoing costs, it became clear that, rather than immediately borrowing an enormous sum for an all-at-once build, it would be more prudent to pursue a pilot project to act as a proof of concept.

The partnership has already made substantial inroads in launching gigabit-class internet. Last year, the City and Cruzio partnered to bring gigabit internet to the Riverwalk Apartments and extended gigabit-class service to 17 other buildings around town, including the Louden Nelson Center, the Tannery Arts Center and City Hall, where the public can enjoy amazing world-class broadband.

Now the most exciting milestone so far: construction of the first full “fiberhood” serving businesses and residences in downtown Santa Cruz with gigabit internet for fifty bucks a month. This is the first phase of the much larger network providing low-cost fiber internet service to all City residents and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

“This is what it’s all about,” said Cruzio’s CEO Peggy Dolgenos. “To finally be breaking ground and getting this much-needed service to downtown makes all our hard work worthwhile.”

This week city council also approved a “dig once policy and a plan that will connect City-owned facilities with fiber — both excellent ideas. Since both the City and Cruzio are now building fiber, we can leverage each other’s investment and coverage capacity to do more at a lower cost.
Cruzio is committed to working with the City in providing broadband access to the whole community and the City remains committed to working with a trusted local partner to achieve this shared goal. Our first neighborhood is scheduled to be completed by this fall and then we will come back to the City with a larger plan for success. One way or another, slowly or quickly, Cruzio’s long-time ambition to provide ubiquitous, disruptively fast internet will be achieved.

Cruzio Tours New Long-Haul Fiber

Cruzio Fiber Vault

Cruzio fiber vault on California St.

Last week, Cruzio joined an excited group on a very special tour. It was an in-depth look at one of the biggest and most important projects we’ve ever been involved in: the long-awaited and newly completed long-haul fiber path going all the way from Santa Cruz down to Soledad.

Though the Cruzio “vault” you see above seems unassuming, it actually represents a huge leap forward for broadband infrastructure along the central coast. This vault, along with dozens more like it and miles and miles of conduit and fiber-optic cable, is the result of  a years-long project to build out this broadband freeway through three counties. This means several significant things:

  1. Right away it gives Cruzio the ability to serve homes and businesses in Watsonville with the same level of service we offer in Santa Cruz.
  2. It provides us a second fiber path so, if something affects our primary fiber (like a backhoe or a squirrel) no one will even notice. It will automatically switch over to our redundant fiber.
  3. It means we can tap into this fiber anywhere along the route to serve neighborhoods, cities, towns and other large institutions. Because the fiber is already connected to our HQ in downtown Santa Cruz, the new “dark fiber” can immediately be accessed and put to use.

We toured a length of the fiber path last week with a posse of the people who made this whole project possible. The group included the California Public Utilities Commission–who helped fund the project, UCSC and the Central Coast Broadband Consortium–who were both instrumental in getting it built, and Sunesys — the construction company that built it.

With a great asset like this now available, of course we wasted no time putting it to use. Cruzio immediately “lit” the fiber from Santa Cruz to Watsonville and we were keen to show off our connection at the Watsonville civic data center.

This is a momentous occasion for us; this backbone’s completion means our services are now stronger and more stable than ever.

“Cruzio is a long-time, trusted Sunesys partner. Their investment in connecting their data center to the backbone fiber, and their long-standing in the local community, makes them an excellent choice for any organization wishing to connect to this infrastructure.” says Sunesys’ Steve DeFranco, Western Region Director of Sales, commending the project.

Now that you know a little bit more about how big this project was, stick around to take a look at some pictures from the highlights of our tour:

A look inside a “vault” along the new fiber path.

Steve Blum of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium speaks to the group about the ins and outs of the project

 

The Sentinel Missed the Mark: Santa Cruz Fiber Project Still Very Much On Track

We all make mistakes, and no one is perfect, even our normally steadfast local paper. However, the Sentinel missed the mark in their recent article lamenting the loss of a deal between Cruzio and the City of Santa Cruz to build a city-wide fiber network. Not only is the Santa Cruz Fiber project not “dead” as the article incorrectly stated, this week City Council approved two measures that will greatly improve the project’s chances of success.

First, one thing the article did get right: Cruzio is already building the first “fiberhood” serving businesses and residences in downtown Santa Cruz. This is the first phase of the much larger network providing low-cost fiber internet service to all City residents.

This week city council also approved a plan that will connect City-owned facilities with fiber — an excellent idea and one we’ve urged the City to develop for years. Since both the City and Cruzio are now building fiber, we can leverage each other’s investment and coverage capacity to do more at a lower cost.

City council also approved a “dig once” policy which means anytime someone needs to open up the street to do construction, other interested parties are given the opportunity to join the project, saving money and minimizing the impact on the community. This is the kind of sensible and practical public policy that is critical to building out open and independent internet infrastructure.

So yes, the Sentinel got this one wrong. Cruzio is committed to working with the City in providing broadband access to the whole community and the City remains committed to working with a trusted local partner to achieve this shared goal. Our first neighborhood is scheduled to be completed by this fall and then we will come back to the City with a larger plan for success. Our hope is that they will be receptive, and we can move forward with gigabit fiber to the rest of the city.  Now that’ll be something worth writing about.

The Fight for Net Neutrality, and How You Can Help

When someone who’s supposed to be an industry’s watchdog says they want to “cut red tape,” it’s time to look out. Watchdogs, after all, are supposed to keep an eye on things. And “red tape” is what’s often used to prevent abuses. It’s like saying “I don’t want my dog to leave the yard, so I’m taking down the fence.”

“Meet the new FCC chairman, harbinger of doom for net neutrality.”
Mashable, 1/25/2017

Ajit Pai, the new FCC chairman appointed by Donald Trump, is anti-regulation. He says he wants to “take a weed whacker” to FCC rules like the ones that protect net neutrality. One of Pai’s hallmarks is a sturdy anti-net neutrality voting record. Under a Democratic administration he was in the minority. Now he’s chairman, and the FCC is 3 to 1 Republican.

You might want to take a moment to watch John Oliver’s hilarious but accurate description of the threat to an open internet. At the end of the video, he describes how to circumvent the labyrinthian comment process and register your opinion with the FCC.

Oliver and his show even created a link to make commenting on Net Neutrality as easy as possible. Just go to (apologies) gofccyourself.com. If that doesn’t work, TechCrunch has a good guide to commenting — which really shouldn’t be as hard as it is.

The last time Oliver did this, in 2014, commenters actually overwhelmed the FCC site–and it’s happening again. In 2014, it made a difference! The FCC chair at that time, Tom Wheeler, became active in defense of Net Neutrality.

Let’s do it again!

By the way, the corporate telecom companies are fighting back. In an expensive ad campaign, Comcast is making the absurd claim that internet providers aren’t telecommunications companies. They’re trying to convince people that net neutrality has nothing to do with the government’s ability to regulate it; it’s an ability that comes with the obscure name “Title II classification.” FCC Chairman Pai suggests making compliance voluntary, after which he expects companies to act counter to their own profit motives.

But all is not lost. Here are just a few ways you can help:

Congratulations to Cruzio’s Chris Frost, The New President of CISPA

Chris Frost, President of CISPA

We’re proud to announce that Chris Frost, our long-time Director of Technology and Infrastructure, has been named the new President of the California Internet Solution Provider Association (CISPA).  

CISPA is actually the largest state ISP association in the entire country.  It was formed to give a unified voice to independent internet service providers like us throughout the state, and includes members from ISPs throughout California. As the new President, Frost says he’s hoping to unify these companies even further with the goal of creating an open, and secure internet for everyone in the state.

We’re looking forward to a strong year for CISPA,” Frost says, “We’ll be growing the organization, and building even stronger ISPs throughout California.

Cruzio is very proud of Chris Frost, an acknowledged expert and mentor to other internet providers,” says our CFO Peggy Dolgenos. “This position gives him an opportunity to champion the causes of internet privacy, competition, and net neutrality.

During his tenure as President, Frost says he plans on growing and strengthening the organization even further. So we wanted to send out a big congratulations to Chris Frost, best of luck at your new position!

 

Santa Cruz Fiber and the Mini Maker Faire

mini maker faire

Makers are an important piece of Santa Cruz’s identity. From companies like Inboard, who’re building the future of personalized transportation, to the many artists and creators creating new works every single day in places like Idea Fab Labs, making is engrained into our community’s DNA. That’s why Santa Cruz Fiber is proud to sponsor, and be featured at, this year’s Mini Maker Faire!

So who exactly are makers, and why are they having a faire? To answer the first question, according to Make magazine, everyone is a maker in some way. Basically, if you’ve ever taken pride creating something, then guess what?–you’re a maker! Concerning makers, former MythBusters host Adam Savage said: “Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals; we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once.”

To answer the second question, the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire is a celebration of our local makers, all of the things they create, and all of the unique ways in which they create them. In an interview with Santa Cruz Tech Beat, Mini Maker Faire creator Zaq Roberts described this year’s event as “Part science fair, part county fair, part electronics show.” Last year’s event had 45 different exhibitors showing off their projects, such as Virtual Reality rollercoasters and 3D printing demonstrations.

This year’s lineup is already shaping up to be excellent as well. UCSC-based Formula Slug will be showing off their FS-0, a completely electric vehicle they built to compete in in last year’s Formula SAE Electric competition. And representatives from Prunedale’s Manzanita Park will let visitors begin their bike racing careers by setting up an actual BMX track starting gate (so be forewarned, parents).

Of course Santa Cruz Fiber will be on hand to show off what we’re making as well: our brand new citywide fiber network! We’ll be giving visitors a hands-on look at the technology that’s going to bring gigabit internet to Santa Cruz, and how it all works. And if you have questions about what the build is going to look like, this is the perfect place to talk to us in person, and learn more about our big project.

If you want to get in on the fun, you can buy tickets right now on their website. The fair opens its doors at 10AM and runs until 5PM this Saturday, April 29th.

#fiberforall Spotlight: MBEP Part 1

MBEP Economic Summit

Our last #fiberforall spotlight featured local nonprofit Digital Nest, highlighting their expansion into Salinas from Watsonville and demonstrating the importance of thinking regionally. This week we want to showcase the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, otherwise known as MBEP. They’re a nonprofit economic development organization that is leading the charge in fostering a regional perspective for the Central Coast.

According to the Salmon Valley Business Journal: (which surprisingly had the best definition we could find) “Economic development [is] defined as efforts that seek to improve the well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs, and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base.

On a local level this means channelling investment into defined areas of need, like workforce development, entrepreneurship, infrastructure (*cough* Fiber *cough*), and quality of life metrics like access to education and housing. Specifically, MBEP is a membership organization of local governments and companies who all have a vested interest in improving our region. To do this, they build relationships, gather data, and advocate for industry best practices–like defining the best way to build a local broadband network (Go Sunesys Go!).

Central Coast leaders gather

Business leaders from across the central coast gather for an MBEP event

MBEP believes in the power of convening leaders from all over the tri-county region to share best practices, identify innovative solutions, and make important new connections for future collaboration” says MBEP President Kate Roberts.

We couldn’t agree more. Often sharing ideas across boundaries that don’t normally cross can lead to fantastic outcomes. If you believe in what MBEP is doing and want to learn more visit their website, and stay tuned as we highlight one of their big projects projects in part 2 of our #fiberforall spotlight next week.

And one more thing…MBEP is hosting a region wide economic summit for the entire Monterey Bay on May 4th, and we will definitely be there. Maybe we will see you too!

#fiberforall Spotlight: Digital NEST Part 2

NEST Members get a preview of the Salinas space

In Santa Cruz Fiber’s #fiberforall Spotlight last week we took a look at some of the excellent work being done by Digital NEST in Watsonville. They’ve been bringing new technology to young adults that normally wouldn’t have the same access to that tech, and offering new opportunities to youth in Santa Cruz County. Today, we’re setting our sights on Digital NEST’s future, as they expand outside of Watsonville, this time to the neighboring city of Salinas.

This Thursday, April 13th from 6 to 8PM, the NEST will hold a “sneak peak” of their brand new program in Salinas at the Cesar Chavez Library. Anyone who’s interested in their work is welcome to come see the new space and learn about the work the organization has already done, as well as what they will add to the Salinas tech landscape before the new program opens its doors on Monday April 17th.

“We’re excited about getting started in Salinas, and being a place where members come to work together, help each other, and explore opportunities for futures in tech,” says Ximena Ireta-Lopez, Digital NEST’s Operations Manager.

There’s already excitement building, as some Salinas students have already talked to existing NEST members in the new space to learn how the program has already helped them find a love of technology, and a future in the tech industry.

All of us at Santa Cruz Fiber continue to be amazed by the work and approach of the NEST and their mission, as well as how quickly they have blossomed into a staple Santa Cruz County nonprofit. Now, we wish them all of the best as they expand beyond their home County to help even more young people along the central coast cross the digital divide, and find a future in technology.

And if you happen to know (or be) a 12-24 year old who wants to get involved with the Digital NEST, you can find out more on their website.