Category Archives: Cruzio Blog

An Update on Equal Access Santa Cruz

girl on laptop
Jason Borgen, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Santa Cruz Office of Education, faced a heartbreaking challenge in April 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had forced students to switch to homeschooling, and many of them lacked adequate home internet connectivity. Students couldn’t do their schoolwork.

“Our primary objective is to provide unwavering support to all students and families, ensuring they have the necessary resources and tools to achieve success, particularly those in our community who are underserved,” Jason emphasized.

Having partnered with Cruzio on many projects over the years, Jason’s initial action was to reach out to us. Together, we embarked on a mission to install affordable internet connections for these students. When it became apparent that the problem was even more widespread than initially thought, Susan True of the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County stepped in, playing a pivotal role in establishing a charitable fund, thus giving birth to Equal Access Santa Cruz (EASC).

EASC allows local community members to support less fortunate neighbors with fast, reliable internet — a service that’s become vital for so many reasons. Cruzio members can even add a few dollars to their monthly bill for EASC. In all the fund has raised over $1,000,000, all of which is put to work building new internet connections to homes in places where construction couldn’t be justified by market economics.

Since its inception, EASC has achieved remarkable success. Some of our achievements include:

  • Establishing over 35 broadband distribution hubs (Points of Presence or PoPs), each capable of serving up to 200 households.
  • Executing various special projects to assist community members in need, such as Buena Vista migrant housing, Pajaro Valley Shelter Services, Farm Discovery Center, and Housing Matters’ Casa Azul.
  • Connecting over 1,200 students and families to new internet access.
  • Creating infrastructure that has the potential to serve an additional 5,000+ individuals.
  • Enhancing broadband availability in over 60% of the Watsonville/Pajaro area.
  • Cultivating new partnerships with several school districts, Housing Matters, Housing Authority of Santa Cruz, and other like-minded organizations.

The partnership with Equal Access has been one of the most gratifying things the Cruzio team have ever undertaken. It embodies our core values and mission as well as the Santa Cruz community’s dedication to making a positive impact.

A student at Farm Discovery Center near Watsonville enjoys Equal Access high-speed internet

We extended internet to Farm Discovery and other places where students do homework.

Jason encapsulates our collective mission when he says, “we focus on equity and are doing everything we can to remove the digital divide from Santa Cruz County. We are thankful for the work Cruzio is doing and has done to make this a reality. With Santa Cruz COE’s and Cruzio’s shared vision towards this work we can truly make a difference for all of Santa Cruz county!”

If you want to help support our mission and help make sure no one in Santa Cruz County is unconnected, please donate to the Equal Access fund.

Where Will Internet Funds Be Spent?

Cruzio Internet saw a need for better service on Highway 9 in the San Lorezno Valley, and were successful in getting a route addedCalifornia’s planned backbone routes are marked in dark orange. The Highway 9 route (circled) was included after Cruzio led a push for it. The routes still leaves large gaps in parts of Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Monterey Counties, which we are trying to address with state grants. 

The Tri-Bay area — from Half Moon Bay, west of San Francisco Bay to Monterey Bay — needs better internet.

That’s Cruzio country. Partly mountainous, partly coastal, all beautiful (of course) but challenging for constructing broadband networks. We’re working hard on it.

Some of the construction can be financed privately, because it’s economically feasible. Cruzio is rapidly building to many areas that have relatively dense housing and reasonable construction costs. But in some parts of our service area, the costs are so high or the revenue potential so small that no company has been building reliable infrastructure.

Fires, Floods, Pandemic — And Couldn’t Call 911

We know the issues well. Outside the urban well-to-do areas, there are — increasingly —internet haves and have-nots. And that has serious consequences. Karen Edwards of the Boulder Creek Business Association put it this way: after the area went through fires, flooding, and a pandemic, “I am not ok with folks being 40 minutes from Silicon Valley and not being able to call 911.”

The good news is, federal and state funds are coming available for internet builds. The work ahead is to make sure our area gets its share of those funds and uses them effectively.

That’s not easy! Our hard-to-reach areas are really hard to reach. Not like the midwest or desert states where the land is flatter and there aren’t towering redwoods. In the Tri-Bay area, we’re looking at wind-y mountain roads and isolated, low-income farming and beach communities. These border quaint, well-off towns with lots of building restrictions.

And our proximity to tech hubs — minutes from Silicon Valley — can make grant awarders skeptical of our need.

Cruzio Plans to Build Internet Where It’s Needed

Cruzio has a plan that extends our high-quality internet into rural and low-income (some are both) parts of our region.

In 2022, Cruzio checked out California’s plans for the “middle mile,” or backbone part of government-funded construction. It’s marked in dark orange in the map above. At first the backbone entirely missed the San Lorenzo Valley, which we’re well aware is hungry for better internet.

We got to work, and with the help of many allies — including Jimmy Panetta’s and Anna Eshoo’s offices, as well as the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership — we were able to persuade the state to add a Highway 9 route. That moves the high speed internet closer to where it’s needed, a big win for our region.

But as you can see from the map, there is a lot of country left uncrossed by the dark orange lines. It’s hard to reach homes and businesses in those parts of the state. Unfortunately (but logically), where it’s hard to build internet is also where the need is greatest. So areas that need the most tend to get the least, even in new planning, unless there’s public pressure.

Cruzio Has Technology That Can Scale Mountains

Cruzio knows our region really, really well. We’ve been serving internet here for 34 years. We know where reasonable access is currently impossible, where we can’t offer any internet because the quality would not meet modern standards. People are stuck, either with nothing or with just one unresponsive overpriced national ISP. (We won’t name names, but just note that when you’ve got a near-monopoly, you don’t have to be responsive to customers.)

Cruzio has technology that can bridge many of the gaps in the state’s plans, and fill in a lot more backbone, or middle mile, infrastructure where major highways don’t go. That won’t solve all the problems — getting from a middle mile path to someone’s house in the woods still isn’t easy and it’s definitely not cheap. But it’s been done before, with rural electrification and universal telephone service. Middle mile is the start of that process.

We submitted a middle mile plan, pictured below, to a federal agency. We’re aiming to create mountaintop hubs which can serve nearby areas with very high speed internet.

But Federal Grants are a Painful Process

After our Highway 9 success, we applied for a federal grant to build more middle mile into several areas: the Santa Cruz Mountains, farmland south of Watsonville, and sparsely populated areas along the coast. These are all places where people ask us for internet, and where we often can’t provide it.

All this “middle mile” “last mile” may sound kind of esoteric, but guess what: we found that many of our elected representatives understand these problems and are trying to fix them. They’ve heard a lot from folks living in the internet badlands, and they’re not sitting on their hands. They welcomed our efforts.

Your ability to work, to get an education, and to participate fully in what passes as modern society these days — those all depend on good internet. And imagine what’s yet to come in the next decade or two.

Jimmy Panetta’s office dug in. When we hit a snag in our grant application, his office reached out to help. Shout out to Representative Panetta, his Chief of Staff Peter Spiro, and especially Mark Dennin for working hard on their constituents’ behalf. We saw it up close.

No Time for GAP

It was a tense and disappointing Easter week this year. Why? While all the kids were out on spring break, Cruzio had progressed to stage 3 of the federal grant process. We don’t have a grants team or anything like that. We just see that it needs to be done, and do it. And we were doing quite well. We had a lot of local support (if you wrote in, thank you!!)

Then the funding body — the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA — suddenly threw us a road block. We didn’t yet have audited GAP financials, and they only gave us two weeks to get the audits done — remember it was Easter week! — and the specialized accountants from San Jose who can do such audits told us it would take months. And cost over $100,000 to boot. So we hung up our hats on that one. Cruzio can do many wonderful things, but we can’t compress two months’ work into two weeks.

Panetta Came Through But the NTIA Didn’t

Mark Dennin from Panetta’s office looked into this gnarly matter and called on our behalf. He even reached out on Easter morning. That’s above and beyond. And we know he wasn’t doing it for Cruzio — we’re a pretty small local company (although we’re very charming and competent of course). This was for the people who live in Panetta’s district who want to work or school from home, access health and banking services, or just watch a movie. Cruzio’s grant proposal cuts through the tangle of large corporations trying to vacuum up all the government funds for their existing infrastructure, and building nothing new. We’re different. We’ll put any money we have right to work.

So though we fell short, we wanted to call out that exceptional effort. We also know that Anna Eshoo’s office worked to help (thank you Stuart Styron), and so many local officials, administrators, nonprofits, and just plain folks worked with us. We are sorry it didn’t work out.

But There Is Another Chance

We came back to the project, after a disappointing Spring Holiday, and looked at other funding sources. Luckily there is a state funding source: CASF. We have repackaged our essential middle mile plan and added last-mile extensions to it, and have submitted it to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for consideration. We are working on our GAP accounting. (We actually like the idea that companies get scrutinized before they get funding, as long as smaller companies get a chance.)

Fingers crossed! We’ll let you know our progress, but we think we’ve got a good shot. No one knows the Tri-Bay area like we do.

Housing Matters’ Casa Azul: Equal Access Santa Cruz’s Latest Success Story

801 River St/ Casa Azul

Casa Azul Grand Opening

People who’ve fallen on hard times can use the internet to connect to health and other services, to look for jobs and permanent housing, to stay in touch with family, and, hopefully, to help find their way back to stability. Through our 34-year history, Cruzio has provided internet connections to organizations that help the members of our community who are most in need, and as we build new infrastructure we extend it to needy folks when we can.

Most recently, Cruzio was proud to link up new supportive housing on River Street, near the intersection of Highways 1 and 9.

Leveraging state funds from the Home Key program as well as resources from local donors, Housing Matters renovated a long-empty VIctorian house and is using it to provide housing to people who suffer from one or more disabilities and who’ve experienced homelessness for a year or more. The house is close to Housing Matters facilities, creating a much-needed expansion of the campus.

The Casa Azul project consists of two one-bedroom apartments and five studio units, making it a stepping stone towards Housing Matters’ upcoming project, the Harvey West Studios. The latter is a 120-unit permanent supportive housing initiative aimed at providing long-term support to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. As Casa Azul opens its doors to new residents, there’s a real sense of excitement and progress. Housing Matters and Cruzio intend to replicate the free internet deployment at the new project.

The provision of free internet access at Casa Azul goes beyond merely providing a connection; it represents a gateway to empowerment and opportunity for residents. With reliable and high-speed internet, individuals experiencing chronic homelessness can access crucial online resources, educational opportunities, job training, and employment opportunities.


Cruzio tech Evan Powers admires the new Casa Azul project at 801 River St.

Moreover, telehealth services will be readily available, ensuring access to remote medical and mental healthcare, fostering improved overall well-being. The ability to stay connected with family, friends, and support networks through online platforms enhances social connectivity and helps build a stronger sense of community within Casa Azul.

The partnership demonstrates a truly impactful approach to tackling the digital divide. As residents move into Casa Azul, they are welcomed not only into safe and stable housing but also into a digitally connected world of opportunities and possibilities.

We feel proud to be able to contribute. Equal Access is a partnership of Cruzio, local community institutions, and local philanthropists. It’s supported by many of our customers (thank you!) and other local donors who know how important quality internet is to every person. It’s part of treating people with dignity.

Every time we can contribute to the well-being of our community, we are going to try. Each piece may be small, and sometimes we feel pretty overwhelmed by the difficulty of curing our local problems. But the only way to tackle big problems is to take the first steps. This housing meets a deep and obvious need. We hope it will prove helpful.

You can help! Make a donation to the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County Equal Access fund. Or just add a small amount to your monthly Cruzio bill, and we will send it to the fund. Equal Access helps seniors and disabled people access health and social services, children get a better shot at online schoolwork, people looking for jobs find opportunities, and much more. Because we add our own contribution, Cruzio can make a small amount of money go a long way.

Hot Dog! All the Facts

Cruzio Internet explores information about hot dogs found online

Elvis sang about hot dogs, and certainly must have enjoyed them in his day

Our Sales and Marketing Manager Jesus Lopez, who is, like Elvis, a musician, keeps us informed of some very random information. This week, we learned about hot dogs:

  • Famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s favorite foods are his mother’s home cooked Chinese food and a “good, old-fashioned American hot dog with mustard.
  • Remember the 4th of July a few weeks ago? On that day alone, Americans consume about 70 million hot dogs!
  • Hawaii eats the most hot dogs per capita in the U.S.
  • The world’s longest hot dog was made by the Vienna Beef company from Chicago.
  • The record-setting frankfurter was almost 200 feet long and cost a chill $80,000 to produce
  • Hot dogs outsell burgers at ballparks
  • The average American eats 60 hot dogs per year, which is more than 20 billion hot dogs consumed nationally each year
  • Hot dogs were first sold at baseball games in 1893
  • Franks and wieners were the original names for the Americanized hot dogs, and super fun to say
  • Hot dogs were one of the first foods eaten on the moon
  • Alongside Tang and freeze-dried ice cream, hot dogs have passed NASA’s lengthy approval process for food that is allowed to be taken and consumed in space
  • A hot dog is a sausage but a sausage isn’t necessarily a hot dog
  • At 230 Fifth in New York City, there is a $2,300 hot dog that is made out of top-grade Japanese wagyu beef and topped with onions that have been caramelized in champagne, caviar, and sauerkraut that  has ALSO been braised in champagne
  • Mickey Mouse’s first on screen words were “Hot Dog!”
  • Ever notice that hot dogs and their buns don’t match in quantity? that is because when hot dogs were first sold in the United States, they were not sold in the grocery stores. So, for the hot dog cooks ordering wholesale quantities, a package of ten seemed like a natural choice
  • When wholesale bun and roll bakeries started to bake the matching buns, they worked with pans that bake long rolls in groups of four that are then stacked to make eight – not ten. Oops.
  • There is such a thing as the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC)
  • NHDSC hot dog etiquette states that ketchup should not be used on a hot dog for anyone over the age of 18
  • In the movie “Sudden Impact”, Dirty Harry said “Nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog”
  • Carl’s Jr started as a hot dog cart on July 17, 1941 in Los Angeles
  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, who’s been in the news lately? No relation to Carl but also started out with a hot dog cart
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt served hot dogs to King George and Queen Elizabeth. The king ate two
  • Americans say the celebrity they’d most like to enjoy a hot dog with is Betty White, RIP
  • The average weight of a fully loaded baseball park hot dog vendor’s bin is 40 pounds
  • As of July 2023, Joey Chestnut holds the world record for eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 10min
  • And to end on a super serious note, What do you call a hot dog with nothing inside it? A ‘hollow-weenie’

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

Para la versión en español haga clic aquí

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 up to 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 webpage here.

Step 2. Sign up for Cruzio:
Sign up for Cruzio service by requesting service here:
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:

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.

Other helpful resources: 
Digital Navigators Program

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 hasta 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 (

Paso 2. Regístrate en Cruzio:
Regístrese en el servicio Cruzio, solicitando el servicio aquí
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

¿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.

Otros recursos útiles:
Programa De Navegantes Digitales

Friends and Neighbors Promo

Psst neighbor have I got a deal for you; two kittens and a laptop

Share the local internet love with our Friends and Neighbors promotion! If you live in a Cruzio Certified Building, refer Cruzio Internet to one of your neighbors and get $100 off your internet bill. Let your buddies know about how much you love fast, affordable, independent, and local internet. Save them from the clutches of big corporate telecoms!

When your neighbor signs up, have them use promo code ‘REFER’ plus your account number.

Your entry will look like this:
REFER – 00000

If you need to look up your account number, you can find it on the online portal, on your monthly bill, or give us call.

Once your neighbor has been connected for 3 months, we’ll apply the $100 credit to your account. Easy! And don’t worry, we’ll make sure your buddies are part of the deal too. They can thank you for a free installation and setup!

Now get out there and recommend some local internet to your friends and family!

Send your neighbor to:

Button; Link to

Terms and Conditions: $100 credit is applied after the third month of the referred customer’s new service. Not good with other deals and promotions. No cash value; account credit only. Promo start date 4/1/2023; only signups after this start date are eligible for this promotion. New Wireless Pro and Fiber Pro signups only. Promo end date 7/31/2023. There is no limit to the number of people a customer can refer – please, refer away!

Cruzio Internet in the Storms of January 2023

trees block street in the Santa Cruz Mountains

When Robert tried to come to work on January 5th, this was what his commute looked like

We were out in the storms

From Pacifica to Monterey and all places in between, Cruzio’s tri-bay service area was hit hard by the storms last month. We thought you’d like to see some of the challenges we faced as we tried to reach every part of our network for maintenance and repairs.

Cruzio staff encountered flooded roads, insane potholes and sinkholes, mudslides, blown over redwood trees. We got calls from subscribers with weeks-long power outages, knocked-over utility poles, equipment sitting in muddy puddles.

Every aspect was tough, and required 24/7 attention from our field and technical staffs. Cruzio was on the road every day, first preparing for problems (storms are coming — could be serious!), then braving the deluge once it hit, and finally looking for rainbows and getting to the gnarlier repairs.

Cruzio staff, like so many people, were sometimes stuck in their homes, confronted by unsafe conditions. The folks who could make it in the our headquarters had to carry an even heavier load.

What We Found in the Weather

Our infrastructure faced huge challenges. We had to deal with twisted and crushed fiberoptic cables, radio equipment spun by high winds, and power outages that outlasted our uninterrupted power supplies and required us to haul generators to remote areas in the dark and the rain.

Storms hit at all hours. It jarred us from sleep. One particularly difficult night our pager person was called almost every hour all night long. It was his first week on pager! Thank you Robert G!

How’d We Do?

But wait. Faced with all that, how’d we do?

Remarkably well. Granted we couldn’t always get through to everyone right away, as we had to keep our staff and customers safe above all else. And there are still repairs lingering, and preparations to make for next time. We’ve got a long list!

But we had very few outages, thanks to tremendous preparation and follow-through by CTO Chris Frost and his team. Almost all interruptions were due to power issues, and we’re well-prepared for those, having seen so many in the last few years.

We Heard from You

It meant a lot to us that Cruzio subscribers from all over sent us heartwarming thank-yous. Here are a few:

“I hope this message doesn’t jinx anything, but, as a multi decade Cruzio customer, I am super impressed with how we are getting continuous service even in this extreme weather.”

“So often we take time to complain when things don’t meet with our expectations. I wanted to take a minute to thank you and your company for outstanding service from two incredible employees.”

“There’s two large bags of Oranges/Lemons in the kitchen, courtesy of the Weston customers we helped out earlier this week.”


We Were Out in the Storms

Just after Christmas 2022 Cruzio started preparing for rainy weather. The storms started on New Year’s Eve and didn’t let up for weeks. All the photos below were taken by Cruzio staff as we went around our service area assessing damage and making repairs:

The storm began like this. Down in the lower-lying regions, our rivers were looking pretty full. We watched the gauges anxiously. If the river topped the levees in downtown Santa Cruz it would be an all-hands emergency.

This is where Branciforte Creek (below the bridge in the upper right) was emptying vast amounts of muddy brown water to the already-full San Lorenzo River.San Lorenzo River in downtown Santa Cruz


The river overwhelmed the Benchlands, close to the Santa Cruz County Building.San Lorenzo River in downtown Santa Cruz


The water came close to the base of the bridge
San Lorenzo River in downtown Santa Cruz

We were lucky in downtown Santa Cruz, you can see the river was high but it didn’t breach the levee. Other river communities weren’t so lucky:  Felton Grove had a particularly hard time


Creeks up north in Half Moon Bay were overflowing, too:

Pilarcitos Creek, Half Moon Bay

Photo by Rob Genovesi, December 31, 2022

And in the San Lorenzo Valley. This is Felton:

Water rushing in Felton

Photo by James Hackett, January 2022

Up in the mountains, falling trees were a huge problem. This is what a Cruzio staffer met with as he tried to get down to our headquarters:

road in san lorenzo valley blocked by fallen trees

Photo by Robert Gilwee, January 5 2023

fallen trees blocking road in the San Lorenzo Valley

Photo by Robert Gilwee, January 5 2023


And we had similar problems trying to reach our subscribers in the mountains. This is Glenwood Drive:

road destroyed by mudslide

Photo by Sonya Campbell, January 2023


Close up:

closeup of road destroyed by mudslide

Photo by Sonya Campbell, January 2023


We saw the aftermath of a lot of devastation:

Car crushed by fallen tree

Photo by Ben Goodell, January 2 2023


Downed fiber lines affected Cruzio Internet directly:

downed fiber internet lines

Photo by Ben Goodell, January 4 2023


downed fiber internet lines, San Lorenzo Valley

Photo by Ben Goodell, January 4 2023


It’s hard to send internet through this:

Downed fiber optic internet cables, San Lorenzo Valley

Photo by Ben Goodell, January 4 2023


Or this fiber optic line getting crushed in San Mateo County:

Fiber optic internet lines downed in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Photo by Rob Genovesi, January 9th 2023


The downed trees made their way to the ocean and built up huge piles:

San Lorenzo River mouth, Santa Cruz

Photo by Steve Hubbard, Alex’s dad, January 5, 2023


That’s the Santa Cruz Boardwalk being battered by high tide and river outflow simultaneously:

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Photo by Steve Hubbard, Alex’s dad, January 5, 2023


In fact the tide meeting the river current created some decent wave action pretty far up the river. People were surfing those waves even past the trestle bridge near the Santa Cruz Boardwalk :


Piles and heaps of downed trees and limbs and other flotsam created huge dams. A lot of work for Public Works departments to keep the water flowing:


People came out to move the flotsam off the volleyball courts because after all, (volley)Ball is Life:


They pushed the fallen trees into big piles by the Coconut Grove:


The cliffs aren’t looking too good either. We’ve seen a lot of cracking and splitting in the last few years, and having high waves full of rocks and downed trees smashing against the cliffs doesn’t help. This is a section of cliff right above Steamer Lane — a portion of it crashed into the water days later:


Back to the mountains, where fiber splicing crew were spotted fixing some of the downed lines:


The beach looked pretty messy and the water seemed dangerous — tree trunks anybody? But surfers were out and about pretty quickly:


We’re still seeing toppled trees all over:


And can you spot the frisbee golf station?:


West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz was ripped apart:


Fencing flung over, cliffsides tumbled down:


Lanes closed, probably for many months and after that, who knows?:

waves destroying West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz

Photo by Peggy Dolgenos, January 22, 2023


But there were the surfers:

surfers on muddy Steamer Lane waves

Photo by Peggy Dolgenos, January 22, 2023


And we hadn’t seen rainbows for a while, but here they were:

Rainbow over Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz

Photo by Peggy Dolgenos, January 22, 2023

Pinball Machines: Just the Facts

Once again, our always-curious, ever-resourceful Sales and Marketing Manager Jesus Lopez, has taken a deep dive into something we take for granted. This time, pinball machines!

  • Pinball got its start in France, dating back to the 1700’s in a game called Bagatelle, which was basically croquet but on a board with wooden pins and a ball that was devised as a way to play croquet but not out in the rain :rain_cloud:
  • However, it wasn’t until 1871 when Montague Redgrave from Ohio turned an old Bagatelle game into the first pinball game, after making some serious improvements, like a coiled spring, a slope, more marbles, etc :seal_ball:
  • Much like cool nerds people do n movies and video games, a lot of pinball machine developers of the late 80’s into the 90’s machines included a cow or a cow reference hidden somewhere as part of the game :fabio_cow:
  • SEGA released Apollo 13, which was a one-of-a-kind multi ball mode, where 13 balls are released into the playfield at once, more than any other pinball game in history :rocket:
  • Some pinball machines, like the Munsters pinball machine, will give you a fun “midnight madness” round if you’re playing a game and midnight strikes, sometimes leading to a chaotic multiball round to wake you up and keep you playing :troll:
  • The best selling pinball machine of all time is Bally William’s Addams Family from 1992, and I’m sure we can thank Anjelica Houston for that :wednesday_dance::wednesday_adams:
  • During the great depression (when is that over, btw?) low-cost entertainment was in high demand, so coin operated machines like pinball became hugely popular in the 1930’s :coin2:
  • However, in the late 1930’s, the US government started seeing pinball as gambling, as companies were making machines that actually cashed you out when you won, which was against gabling laws, so they were banned from the early 1940’s until 1976! :spongebob_money::cop:
  • In New York, the pinball ban was EXTRA dramatic… just weeks after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia issued an ultimatum to the city’s police force stating that their top priority would be to round up pinball machines and arrest their owners. La Guardia proceeded to spearhead massive Prohibition-style raids in which thousands of machines were rounded up in a matter of days, before being dramatically smashed with sledgehammers by the mayor and police commissioner and then dumped into the city’s rivers… wtf :astonished::flushed::disappointed:
  • Something I never really noticed before, but because pinball was illegal for so long, it became a symbol of youth and rebellion around this time period, hence the Fonz regularly playing pinball in “Happy Days” or when The Who’s “Tommy” pinball-wizard theme rock opera album came out in 1972, pinball was still banned in much of the country :rock_n_roll:
  • Shockingly, pinball is still illegal in some places… just a few years ago, Nashville, Tennessee overturned its ban on children under 18 playing or even STANDING within 10 feet for a pinball machine… and to do this day, it’s illegal to play pinball on Sundays in Ocean City, NJ :police_car:
  • Famous for such notable pinball titles as High Speed, Black Knight, and F-14 Tomcat, designer Steve Ritchie was also the “Finish Him!” voice actor in the classic video game Mortal Kombat :astonished:
  • There is still ONE company in the US that builds pinball machines, and this is where most of the new machines come from- Stern Pinball factory in the Chicago suburbs, where workers assemble everything, mostly by hand :epic_handshake:
  • 1979 Williams “Gorgar” was the first talking pinball machine with an 8 word vocabulary :robot_face:
  • How about some songs about pinball? I already named one up above….
  • Pinball Wizard by The Who
  • And don’t forget this rad rendition of Pinball Wizard too, by Sir Elton John
  • The first song that randomly came to mind was Olympia, WA by Rancid, as they mention playing a lonely pinball machine in the first verse
  • Reggie and the Full Effect also came up, as in the song Everything’s’ Okay he wants to go play pinball and hopefully he’ll get to drive her car too…