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

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, Fang, almost matched our logo.

Cam's cat does the Cruzio KItty

 

 

Or, another approach:

Kitty asleep on keyboard

 

Other cats— this is Molly — 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. Thoughtful to devote the whole desk drawer to comfortable cat naps!

Sleeping on the job

 

Checking email in bed? So is Georgie, 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, a couple of cats who like blankets too.

Mark's cat Lenny under a blanket

 

Goodnight!

Cat in blankets

Some Older DSL Services Will End in June

spaghetti-ike phone wiring around a window

John, a Cruzio staffer, took this photo of an actual customer site.

First, be assured that if you haven’t been contacted, you are not affected by the end of these services.

If you are a subscriber to the small number of affected connections, we’ve already sent you email and snail mail letting you know there are only a few months of service left. We’re helping people find alternatives. We’re comping free email service. We’re sometimes sharing a few tears!

What’s happened is that we’re in a race. Cruzio needs to build our own infrastructure around the county to provide service to our community before AT&T decommissions the copper phone lines our older services use.

We’ve been part of an effort to force telephone companies to maintain their lines longer than they wish, and we’ve had some success, though we’ve lost money on the services for years. But some of the longest, oldest infrastructure has been failing. And, reluctantly, service on those lines has deteriorated so badly we will have to let a small number of our accounts go.

More details:

When we build our independent network, we build a solid foundation for the future. Our fiber and fixed wireless services are fast, reliable, and scalable. We’re very proud of our work.

In the past, all our customers were on lines leased from AT&T, built back when telephone companies were granted state monopolies in return for universal service and price regulation. We still have a lot of customers on leased lines where the service is reasonably good.

But in some parts of the county, on our oldest services (which we call DSL 1.5, or DSL 3.0, or DSL 6.0) we have seen a decline in line quality that, since we don’t own the wires, we can’t repair. Some customers lose service for weeks or even months before AT&T even sends a technician to look at their lines. We get distressed calls from our customers, and call AT&T in turn again and again, to no avail. It’s AT&T ‘s plan to drop those lines as soon as they’re allowed. We’ve already been warned that end-of-life on the leased network may come as early as this year. And they’re letting the lines deteriorate in the meantime.

We could no longer charge for such crummy service.

And, though we’re building as fast as we can, some of the places where the copper was deteriorating aren’t yet reachable by our newer network.

We emailed a small number of customers, some of them longtime customers, that their service would be discontinued. And it broke our hearts to do it.

Of course, when some parts of our network are discontinued, other people may hear rumors and think, “is that me, too?” Rest assured that if your service was being retired, you would get months of warning (we sent out emails in February for service cancels in June, and are following up with postal mail and phone calls for good measure).

Cruzio lost this race, and it was a tough loss. But we hope someday to reach every part of the county again. We’re building our independent network out rapidly, building 20 new Points of Presence (PoPs) around the county so far this year alone, each node serving up to hundreds of customers. We’re working hard to serve our county.

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.

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.