Category Archives: Cruzio Blog

Massive Storms Are Expected — Internet Outages Possible

Flooding along the San Lorenzo River. Floods may affect power and internet access.

Flooding along the San Lorenzo River. Floods may affect power and internet access.

The Cruzio Team has worked diligently to prepare for the big incoming storm fronts. And we’ll continue to work diligently — through the nights and in bad weather as necessary — to keep internet up and running throughout our network.

However, with the best preparation in the world, with a weather event of this size there is a possibility that PG&E and internet services will be impacted. Our power backups will hold for a number of hours or days, depending on the site. We have redundant network paths, so if an upstream provider fails we can use another. We have shelf spares to repair or replace any equipment on our network.  Our technicians are skilled and determined to prevent and solve problems. But if roads are closed or conditions unsafe and we cannot reach our equipment, temporary outages on our network may occur.

We’ll keep our Network Status updated at all times here: https://cruzio.com/member-tools/network-status/. And follow us on Twitter at @cruzio and @cruzio_support for updates. We also highly recommend following @CALocalSCZ, a great source of data and information.

This is a great time to be making sure you have all your devices and backup batteries fully charged, generators fueled, and emergency supplies on hand. There are great resources and information available online for Santa Cruz , San Mateo and Monterey.

Here are some useful tips from Cruzio’s own Steve Dennis:

  • Make sure you have some bottled water for drinking
  • Charge all devices
  • Batteries, and flashlights at the ready
  • Never cross downed power lines
  • Slow down on the roads, and watch for standing water
  • Fill your gas tanks today
  • Pet owners keep leashes, and crates ready if you have to evacuate
  • Your safety is the most important thing. Don’t take a risk for dumb reasons
  • Let folks know your status sooner rather than later. If you need help, ask!

Stay safe and dry! 

Cruzio Newsletter #213

Cruzio Newsletter, Number 213, November 14, 2022


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Note from Cruzio’s CEO

Cruzio Internet co-CEO

There’s always a cat or two at the Cruzio CEO’s house

This is a moment for broadband.

Cruzio, with the help of government grants and non-profit support, has been connecting rural low-income communities to high-speed internet. We’re using equipment and methods that didn’t exist 10, 5, or even 2 years ago to accomplish these jobs.

We are ready to do much more.

We’re using the same high-speed, high-quality technology that we’ve pioneered in more commercially viable parts of our network. We build efficiently, economically, and sustainably.

More funding for digital equity will soon be available from the federal and state governments. Time for us to work with neighborhoods that have bad internet access and put together shovel-ready projects.

It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Federal and state funds shouldn’t be spent on empty promises or sucked up by giant corporate bureaucracies. Let’s build what our communities need, and they will make use of it for many decades.

So if you’re in an area that’s an internet desert — or you know someone who’s in that quandary — let Cruzio know. You can just check your address here and it will show up as a dot on our “needs internet” map. When we can’t serve an address, we look for patterns that will help us, and the State of California, find difficult-to-serve areas.

Or even better, tell your local representatives: County Supervisor, State Assembly Member, State Senator, Member of Congress. You can easily look up your representatives’ contact info on CaliforniaLocal.com if you’re in Santa Cruz or Monterey County.

We want to do everything we can to ensure that when the money’s all used up, our Tri-Bay Area is fully served. That means fast, affordable internet for everyone.

How Can Pumpkins Get That Big?

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Winner 2002

The Winning Pumpkin

This year, the winning pumpkin in Half Moon Bay’s annual Safeway World Champion Pumpkin Weigh-off broke the all time US record at 2560 pounds.

What is going on with pumpkins? Here are some other U.S. record vegetable sizes:

  • largest zucchini ever: 115 lbs
  • largest butternut squash ever: 104.5 lbs
  • largest tomato ever: 10 lbs 12.7 oz
  • largest broccoli ever: 35 lbs

Excuse me? The largest pumpkin weighs about 233 times as much as the largest tomato? The biggest of big pumpkins weigh well over a ton! About as heavy as a Mini Cooper. No other vegetable comes close.

(What about fruit, you say? And technically the pumpkin is a fruit, so that is a fair question. Were you going to guess watermelon? No such luck. The largest watermelon ever grown in the US was 350.5 pounds.)

Why?

Good genes. The variety that grows so big is called the Atlantic Giant. It’s not good to eat — too watery. It’s not great to carve — it flattens out as it grows. But it does get very, very big and heavy without bursting from its own weight like the tomatoes and other fruits and veggies do. And it’s able to channel a huge amount of water — pumpkins are mostly water — through its unique fibrous stem. Techniques are here, if you’re ambitious to grow a giant, go for it!

Half Moon Bay holds the “superbowl of pumpkin weight contest” every year. For 49 years (starting a year after the Art & Pumpkin Festival), pumpkin enthusiasts have trucked in their mega-gourds to discover who’s got the biggest of all. And this year a farmer named Travis Gienger from Minnesota rolled in with a 2,560 lb pumpkin (a little off the world record of 2,702 lbs by a farmer in Italy last year).

Of course, the pumpkin weighing was live-streamed over a Cruzio connection. It was thrilling!

And maybe it’s not surprising that the record’s been broken again. Winning pumpkins have been getting bigger and bigger. Check out the chart below, showing the sizes of pumpkins growing massively each decade.

chart of half moon bay champion pumpkin sizes

Don’t Fall for Phishing — Some Tips

Did you notice phishing email that tried to use Cruzio’s logo recently? They must have grabbed it off our website. But they squished it, so the fake was easy to spot!

Fake logo. This kitty is squished:
narrow kitty logo, incorrect

Real logo, see the difference?:
normal kitty logo, where the kitty is in a circle, not a narrow oval

Once again, a reminder to stay alert. Scammers are getting more convincing with email pretending to be from a trusted organization. Be suspicious of unexpected email, whether it’s supposedly from your bank, from an online store, or even from Cruzio.

Whenever you have the slightest doubt, please contact us. Note that by the time you see the phishing, most often we’ve already handled it and the link has been disabled. But it’s better to be safe and not click unless you’re sure.

What are some signs? The biggest is that when you hover your cursor over the “from” field or any links in the email, you’ll see a weird non-Cruzio address. The website they send you to is probably buried deep in the computer of some previous victim. We’ve illustrated what hovering looks like here.

Another sign that email is fake: when you look closely, it doesn’t look right. There may be lots of misspellings (which we rarely do!), or odd wording. Phishing emails are often written by non-native English writers, though they’ve gotten more sophisticated.

We’ll Match Holiday Food Donations

canned good for hungry people in Santa Cruz and San Mateo

Food banks are do efficient bulk buying of food. Your dollars go a long way!

Double your holiday donation to Second Harvest Food Bank!

As Cruzio’s long-time subscribers know, we contribute throughout the year to the Second Harvest Food Bank to feed local people in need. In fact, if you are late with a Cruzio payment, we will take cans of food in lieu of a late fee any time of year!

Second Harvest Is a great organization that does a lot of good in the community — Charity Navigator describes it as “a sustainable, high performing food distribution network.”

Here’s how:

If you send us a check with your donation made out to Second Harvest Food Bank, Cruzio will match your donation up to $1,500 total. Send the check to Cruzio, attn Finance Department, 877 Cedar Street Suite 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

Even easier: if you prefer to donate online, just send us a screen shot of your donation and we’ll match it with ours.

We’ll count any donations made before 1/1/2023!

Use Your Internet Connection to Help a Neighbor Afford Internet

And one last pitch for local folks in need: if you’re a Cruzio subscriber, it’s super easy to help very-low-income families afford good internet. Cruzio’s Equal Access uses small donations — even a few dollars a month — to keep costs for qualifying local households under $15/month.

That’s helping kids do their homework and seniors access health information and all kinds of meaningful things. Here’s the link to set up a contribution.

Changes in Government: Redrawn Districts

map of new Central Coast congressional districtsCruzio has subscribers all around the Tri-Bay Area: Half Moon, San Francisco and Monterey Bays. And as we researched which elected representatives could help us identify and solve deficiencies in internet access, we found lots of districts changing — many significantly.

This does affect who to talk to about using broadband funding in your neighborhood. Note that we’re not trying to advocate for anything or anyone except better internet.

The 2020 Census Brought 2022 Changes

This year, as a result of our 2020 census results, our district borders have been redrawn for congressional, state senate, and state assembly representation. In some cases the changes are quite significant. Folks in the San Lorenzo Valley, for example, will now be in Representative Jimmy Panetta’s district rather than that of Anna Eshoo. At the same time, the city of Salinas was in Panetta’s district — but is now in Zoe Lofgren’s.

The district changes took place for the election we just had. The actual representation will change with the next session.

The best way we’ve found to look at all the district changes is this map, where you can click on “Current Day” to see the pre-2022 districts and “Final Map” to see the new ones. It shows Congressional, State Senate, and State Assembly districts.

Representatives Will Need to Get Acquainted with Different Internet Needs

The changes could have an effect on our internet prospects, because Representative Anna Eshoo is the senior member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee in Congress. She has been very effective helping folks in the Santa Cruz Mountains when their internet was threatened.

Internet in mountain communities is still a huge area of concern and now it will likely be up to Jimmy Panetta. Panetta has a great staff and has done good work on internet expansion further south, in Monterey County. He may be less familiar with the mountains but we have high hopes. We’ll continue to work with residents of the San Lorenzo Valley and other mountain communities, as well as farming and coastal towns, to secure funding where it’s needed.

Fortunately for our more rural San Mateo customers’ internet prospects a bit further north, Eshoo’s district will be covering their neck of the woods. If Eshoo is re-elected as projected, there will be a powerful voice for local telecommunications representing them. Cruzio will certainly be identifying needed internet improvements in San Mateo County,.

Wherever you see a need for internet, please let us know where we can help.

Let Your Representatives Know Where Internet is Most Needed

Whoever’s in the new seats, we urge you to check their statements about equitable internet access and to contact them for upcoming funding. Money from the federal and state governments will be coming available in the next couple of years and congressional representatives have a lot of influence on where and how the funds are spent.

Sadly for internet equity, we are losing a tremendous advocate in Santa Cruz County, Mark Stone. Stone was a strong and, at times, lonely voice in the State Assembly insisting that old DSL speeds of 6 Mbps down, 1 up, weren’t sufficient for future needs. Thanks for recognizing the importance of rural internet, Mr. Stone!

Pumpkins: Just the Facts

  • in 1584 a French explorer first called pumpkins “gros melons”  :nice:which was translated into English as “pompions” and around the 17th century they were finally referred to as pumpkins :croissant:
  • the word “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon” which means “large melon” :very_nice:
  • pumpkins are grown on every continent on earth except Antarctica, as they’re not really a fan of 24/7 icy conditions :cold_face:
  • pumpkins are 90% water :droplet:
  • they also have more fiber than kale, more potassium than a banana and are full of magnesium and iron :muscle:
  • even the stem of a pumpkin is edible, meaning every part of a pumpkin can be consumed- skin, leaves, flowers, pulp, seeds… :star-struck:
  • *record scratch… pumpkins are technically FRUIT and belong to the same family, Cucurbitacae, which includes cucumbers and melons :cucumber::melon:
  • there are over 45 varieties of pumpkins :randy_marsh_shook_astonished:
  • Delaware used to hose an annual “Punkin Chunkin” which is just delightful to say, but, unfortunately, they’ve taken a few years off as someone died in 2017 :disappointed:
  • pumpkins take between 90 and 120 days to grow :calendar:
  • each pumpkin has about 500 seeds :five::zero::zero:
  • the heaviest pumpkin EVER was grown in Italy and weighed 2,702lb 13.9 oz… think of all the PIE :astonished::exploding_head::pie:
  • suffering from freckles or a snakebite? back in the day, pumpkins were considered a remedy for both! not sure what happens if you’re freckled AND get bit by a snake, but hopefully it’s a 2 for 1 deal :snake:
  • in 1663, the term jack-o’-lantern was used to refer to a night watchman who carries a lantern, and apparently doesn’t even have to be named Jack! :spongebob_wtf::jack_o_lantern:
  • the Irish folktale of Stingy Jack was the inspiration of jack-o’-lanterns. the TLDR version is a blacksmith named Jack made a pact with the devil and after he died he was cursed to walk the earth without an end. however, homeboy was scared of the dark so he went BACK to the devil, cuz that clearly worked out so well the first time, and asked him for a light to bring with him as he roamed the earth. he got hooked up with a burning ember which he put into a hallowed out turnip as a makeshift lantern, and the rest is history… :devil:
  • during the Samhain feast put on by the ancient Celtics, the celts would wear costumes and light bonfires and walk around to ward off bad and evil spirits. the bonfire eventually evolved into lighting of carved turnips, which then evolved into the jack-o’-lanterns we know and love today :mage:
  • some think that the jack-o’-lantern represents souls in purgatory and prayers would be said after the lantern was lit :pray::dancing-pumpkin:
  • Punkie Night (not a thing at the Blue Lagoon, but could be cool if it was….) was a 19th century tradition in Somerset, England, where on the last Thursday in October, children would walk through the streets carrying jack-o’-lanterns and singing “give me a candle, give me a light, if you haven’t a candle a penny’s alright” which can probably be translated directly into “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat” :frog_halloween:
  • Keene, New Hampshire holds the world record for most lit jack-o’-lanterns on display at a chill 30,581 of them :astonished::dizzy_face:
  • don’t forget about the Great Pumpkin, who Linus van Pelt from Peanuts believed was a supernatural figure who rises from the pumpkin patch on Halloween evening and flies around bringing toys to good kids that believe in it :ghost_peek_a_boo:
  • there are A LOT of sweet jams that mention pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns, but the ones that come to mind are- Halloween by The Misfits :misfits: (duh) “Bonfires burning bright, Pumpkin faces in the night, I remember Halloween” and the song Pumpkin by The Regrettes, so here’s a live version of that bop, “Pumpkin, pumpkin, You’re gonna kill me, Pumpkin, pumpkin, La-da-da-da-da-da” :dancing_pumpkin::dancing-pumpkin:

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

You may be eligible for Free Internet with Cruzio.
Through our Equal Access Initiative and the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), qualifying households can get 100% of their internet costs covered.

To enroll, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3

Step 1. Qualify for ACP:
All interested Cruzio customers must complete the eligibility form found on the National Verifier website. https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/

Step 2. Sign up for Cruzio:
Sign up for Cruzio service by requesting service here: https://cruzio.com/services/broadband/
If you are already a customer with Cruzio, skip to Step 3.

Step 3. Enroll for ACP:
Once you have completed the eligibility form and confirmed that you’ve qualified, let us know, either by following up on an inquiry for service or by submitting a Ticket: Cruzio.com/contact


Got Questions About ACP? We’ve Got Answers:

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a long-term, $14 billion program put together by the Federal Government to help low-income households afford internet services and stay connected to everyday things like work, school, health care, and more. Households that qualify can receive a monthly credit of up to $30/month to put toward their internet service.

What does it take to be eligible?
Those who qualify for the ACP include members of the assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Lifeline. Additionally, households that have an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines are also eligible. The easiest way to know if you qualify is to confirm eligibility through the National Verifier. To qualify, a member of your household needs to complete the next steps.
Check Eligibility here

What does the ACP cover?
Households that qualify can receive a monthly credit of up to $30/month toward their internet service.

Who qualifies for the ACP?
The easiest way to know if you qualify for the ACP is to confirm eligibility through the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). To qualify, a member of your household must meet at least one of the following criteria:
– Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
– Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
– Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
– Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year.
– Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.

How long will I receive the ACP credit?
The government has not announced a program end date.

What Cruzio services are eligible?
All residential services are eligible for enrollment in ACP. This includes Wireless Pro, Santa Cruz Fiber, Certified Building Connections, and Velocity Internet + Phone.

When will the changes appear on my account?
After your eligibility and enrollment have been confirmed, you should see the new ACP pricing on your next billing cycle.

Does the ACP apply to existing Cruzio promotions?
Yes, existing credits will remain in effect in addition to the ACP credit.

If I move while receiving the ACP, what happens?
Moving would not change your ACP eligibility. However, you may need to re-enroll in ACP at your new address. If you move into an area not serviceable by Cruzio, you will need to check with your new Internet service provider to make sure they are also a participating provider in the ACP.

Can my ACP benefit be transferred between Internet Service Providers?
The ACP subsidy is limited to one per household and can only be applied to one provider at a time. If there is a reason for you to no longer enroll in the ACP with Cruzio, however, you would need to then apply for eligibility with a different internet service provider. You can obtain broadband service subsidized by the ACP from any participating provider of your choice.
 


Usted puede ser elegible para Internet gratis con Cruzio.
A través de nuestra Iniciativa de Igualdad de Acceso y el Programa Federal de Conectividad Asequible (ACP), los hogares que califican pueden obtener el 100% de sus costos de Internet cubiertos

Para inscribirse, es tan fácil como 1, 2, 3

Paso 1. Calificar para ACP:
Todos los clientes de Cruzio interesados ​​deben completar el formulario de elegibilidad que se encuentra en el sitio web de National Verificador aqui https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/

Paso 2. Regístrate en Cruzio:
Regístrese en el servicio Cruzio, solicitando el servicio aquí https://cruzio.com/services/broadband/
Si ya es cliente de Cruzio, salte al Paso 3.

Paso 3. Inscríbase en ACP:
Ya que haya completado el formulario de elegibilidad y confirmado que ha calificado, infórmenos, ya sea haciendo un seguimiento de una consulta de servicio o enviando un Ticket Cruzio.com/contact


¿Tiene preguntas sobre ACP? Nosotros tenemos respuestas:

¿Qué es el Programa de Conectividad Asequible?

El Programa de Conectividad Asequible (ACP, por sus siglas en inglés) es un programa a largo plazo de $14 mil millones, creado por el Gobierno Federal para ayudar a los hogares de bajos ingresos a pagar los servicios de Internet y mantenerse conectados a cosas importantes como el trabajo, la escuela, la atención médica y más. Los hogares que califiquen pueden recibir un crédito mensual de hasta $30/mes para su servicio de Internet.

¿Qué se necesita para ser elegible?
Hogares que califican para el ACP incluyen miembros de los programas de asistencia como SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Federal Public Housing Assistance o Lifeline. Además, los hogares que tienen un ingreso igual o inferior al 200 % de las pautas federales de pobreza también son elegibles. La forma más fácil de saber si califica es confirmar la elegibilidad a través del Verificador Nacional. Para calificar, un miembro de su hogar debe completar los siguientes pasos.
Verifique la elegibilidad aquí 

¿Qué cubre el programa ACP?
Los hogares que califiquen pueden recibir un crédito mensual de hasta $30/mes para su servicio de Internet.

¿Quién califica para el programa ACP?
La forma más fácil de saber si califica para el ACP es confirmar la elegibilidad a través de la Base de datos nacional de responsabilidad de Lifeline (NLAD). Para calificar, un miembro de su hogar debe cumplir con al menos uno de los siguientes criterios:
– Tiene un ingreso igual o inferior al 200% de las pautas federales de pobreza;
– Participa en ciertos programas de asistencia, como SNAP, Medicaid, Asistencia Federal de Vivienda Pública, SSI, WIC o Lifeline;
– Participa en programas tribales específicos, como la Oficina de Asistencia General para Asuntos Indígenas, TANF Tribal o Programa de Distribución de Alimentos en Reservas Indígenas;
– Está aprobado para recibir beneficios bajo el programa de almuerzo escolar gratuito o de precio reducido o el programa de desayuno escolar, incluso a través de la Disposición de Elegibilidad Comunitaria del USDA en el año escolar 2019-2020, 2020-2021 o 2021-2022.
– Recibió una Beca Federal Pell durante el año de concesión actual.

¿Por cuánto tiempo recibiré el crédito de  ACP?
El gobierno no ha anunciado una fecha de finalización del programa.

¿Qué servicios de Cruzio son elegibles?
Todos los servicios residenciales son elegibles para la inscripción en ACP. Esto incluye Wireless Pro, Santa Cruz Fiber, Conexiones de edificios Certificadas y Velocity Internet + Telefono.

¿Cuándo aparecerán los cambios en mi cuenta?
Una vez que se haya confirmado su elegibilidad e inscripción, debería ver el nuevo precio de ACP en su próximo ciclo de facturación.

¿Aplica el programa ACP a las promociones Cruzio existentes?
Sí, los créditos existentes seguirán vigentes además del crédito de la ACP.

Si me mudo mientras estoy recibiendo el programa ACP, ¿qué sucede?
Mudarse no cambiaría su elegibilidad para ACP. Sin embargo, es posible que deba volver a inscribirse en ACP en su nueva dirección. Si se muda a un área en la que Cruzio no presta servicio, deberá consultar con su nuevo proveedor de servicios de Internet para asegurarse de que también sea un proveedor participante en el ACP.

¿Se puede transferir mi beneficio de ACP entre proveedores de servicios de Internet?
El subsidio de la ACP está limitado a uno por hogar y solo se puede aplicar a un proveedor a la vez. Sin embargo, si hay una razón por la que ya no se inscribe en el ACP con Cruzio, deberá solicitar la elegibilidad con un proveedor de servicios de Internet diferente. Puede obtener el servicio de banda ancha subsidiado por la ACP de cualquier proveedor participante de su elección.

Cruzio Newsletter #212

Cruzio Newsletter, Number 212, July 28th, 2022


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