Affordable Internet
For Newberry Springs

If you want to make a difference for Newberry Springs,
this is it!   Your voice is needed.

    The California Public Utilities Commission is headquartered at 505 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco and has an annual operating budget of approximately $1.3-billion.

Posted:  August 2, 2015


      During the Newberry Community Services District monthly board meeting Tuesday, July 28, 2015, Ellen Johnson, president of the Newberry Springs-Harvard Property Owners Association started the open public comment segment by requesting the CSD board to submit a letter supportive of broadband in Newberry Springs; a non-budgetary matter for the CSD.

      Director Robert Shaw was not present; those that were, seemed attentive and most understood the critical importance of having broadband available at an affordable rate that families in Newberry Springs can afford.

      We say most because Robert Vasseur flip-flopped the other way.  Vasseur stated that he has Internet access that serves his personal needs.  That although he would like to pay less for it, he is happy that his needs are taken care of.  Vasseur further stated that he felt that the CSD would be overreaching its authority to authorize a position letter supporting Internet access for the remaining community.

      Vasseur is an excellent CSD representative for Newberry as he examplifies the pervasive me, me, me attitude and the apathy of the community.  As long as 'me' is selfishly taken care of, to hell with trying to improve things for anyone else.

      County First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood's field representative, Mr. Ron Frame, was in attendance and Frame spoke before the CSD board supporting broadband for the community.  Frame stated that government supports Internet connectivity for every citizen and that currently there is funding available for the installation of broadband that Newberry Springs could tap into.

      Ellen Johnson concentrated her talk on the proposed Verizon sale of its landline assets to Frontier Communication.  The proposal is currently before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval.  The Newberry Springs Community Alliance has gone on record with the CPUC requesting that if the sale is approved by the Commission, a mitigation condition of the sale should include Frontier providing broadband service to Newberry Springs; and that such service should include a $10-monthly rate for low income qualifiers.

      Ron Frame also referenced a project called Digital 395 by Praxis Associates, Inc., that has recently completed a high-speed fiber-optic broadband backbone from Barstow up Route 395 to Reno.  Having completed that project, the company is now making an application to run a similar fiber-optic line from Barstow to Las Vegas.

      A tentative route to Las Vegas from Barstow would follow Route 66 to Newberry Springs and then turn north to Interstate-15 and continuing out to Baker, and then on to Las Vegas.  A spur line is planned for the military bases, including Fort Irwin; and one from Baker to Shoshone is being considered.

      The Newberry Springs Community Alliance has been in talks with the head developer of this proposed project.  The results are this: the project would like to serve Newberry Springs because the project could use the community's support in acquiring government funding; and greasing the procurement of permits necessary for the project.  Unfortunately, the company does not feel that it can offer an affordable connection rate for Newberry's low income families.

      For the Digital 395 project, a company called Race Communications is installing fiber-optic connections to every home in Boron.  Tied directly to the Digital 395's backbone, subscribers are receiving a 1,000-megabites per second speed (download and upload) for a $60 monthly fee; compared to about 2-megabites per second download that Newberry Springs is receiving from Desert Wireless for about $50 a month.

      Yes, some of us would quickly grab what Boron is receiving; however, the vast majority of Newberry cannot afford $60 a month.  Having optical fiber in Newberry that the majority cannot afford is not serving the community.

      Bringing in high-speed broadband to Newberry would require a great deal of federal dollars.  To include a monthly low income subsidized rate for those of low income would be very costly to taxpayers supplying the federal funds.

      The opponents to federal support for broadband have a study that indicates that most families who have federally supported broadband do not use it for education or work; most use it for games or for streaming movies.  Why should taxpayers support such?  If people want all the modern conveniences, why move to the rural desert?

      The reality is that people have always expanded and lived in rural areas; and in this country, their children have a right to equal education.  Even if the family's broadband is only used five-percent of the time for critical educational studies, access for those studies is necessary.

      Today, many educational classes, be it college, university, or educational programming aimed at elementary through high school, require capable Internet connectivity.  Home jobs using the Internet are growing daily.  Almost every facet today is becoming tied to the Internet and capable broadband is a necessity.

      Barstow may not have all the major stores, but the major stores are online.  Many of their websites offer hundreds of additional products that their stores cannot stock; and many of the online stores offer free shipping to your door.  Great bargains are found on the Internet and those of low income in Newberry need to stretch their purchasing resources.

      So which of the two broadband proposals should we support?  The Verizon-Frontier proposal or the Barstow to Las Vegas line?   The answer is simple, we need to vigorously support both!

Call to action!

      It is too early now to support the Barstow to Las Vegas line; but time is now running out on the opportunity to respond to the Verizon-Frontier sale application.  If you want reasonably priced high-speed broadband in Newberry, you need to write a simple letter to the California Public Utilities Commission asking for it.  Don't expect your neighbor or someone else to do it for you, THEY WON'T!  You MUST do this for yourself, your family, and your community.  And when you have finished, pompously shame your friends to follow your marvelous lead.

      To make it easy for you to participate, below is a simple template.  You can, but don't have to, state a position on the Verizon landline sale to Frontier.  Like making a pie, you control the ingredients.  The letter can be as simple as: The community of Newberry Springs is financially disadvantaged.  Please help us acquire boardband service, and have a $10 monthly rate for those who qualify as low income.  Or, your letter can include more as outlined below.

      Be sure to include on the Subject line -
        Subject: Joint Application of Frontier and Verizon for Transfer, A.15-03-005
so that the CPUC can properly file your letter. 

      You can select some of the comment pointers below, or create your own; but let the Commission clearly understand the poverty and high government relief in Newberry Springs. 

      Available funding for broadband expansion is going to rural communities like Newberry Springs that are economically disadvantaged.  The more that the Commission hears from us that we qualify, the greater is our chance of acquiring broadband.  And again, please request that Newberry Springs be given broadband service at an affordable $10 monthly rate for those qualifying as low income.  This emphasizes Newberry's qualification.

Suggested Pointers

      We need support letters dramatizing that Newberry Springs despirately needs broadband service (whether or not the Verizon Communications sale to Frontier Communications is authorized).  As a citizen, you are welcome to state your opinion whether you support the sale or not.  It is best to support your opinion with one or more reasons.  You may state your support for broadband by including one or more of the following points.  (Please rewrite using your own words.)

  (1) Newberry Springs does not have broadband service.
  (2) Newberry Springs is a very rural desert area.
  (3) Verizon has failed to adequately serve Newberry Springs (No wired broadband).
  (4) Newberry has a high segment of its population on government assistance.
  (5) Newberry is categorized as economically depressed (challenged, distressed).
  (6) Broadband is needed for our children's education and extended adult education.
  (7) Broadband will help fill the void of the community's lack of a library.
  (8) Broadband is needed for health considerations.
  (9) Broadband is necessary to attract community businesses.
(10) Home based careers are stagnated due to an absence of broadband.
(11) Newberry is not serviced by delivery of a newspaper; broadband will fill the void.
(12) Boardband will fill the void of Newberry Springs lacking good T.V. reception.
(13) Boardband will greatly improve social communication.
(14) Broadband will assist in tracking severe weather cells during monsoon storms.
(15) Broadband assists the ADA challenged.
(16) Worldwide connections.

EZ sample template letter.
Only a few paragraphs.

[Your name/organization, address, and phone number on letterhead.]


Commissioner Catherine Sandoval
William Johnston, Advisor
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Subject: Joint Application of Frontier and Verizon for Transfer, A.15-03-005
    [It is important to have the docket number in the subject line of the letter as shown.]

Dear Commissioner:

[State your name or organization and concern about this proceeding where Verizon is selling their landline phone and Internet system to Frontier.]

[Write to express serious concerns about the lack of any landline Internet services by Verizon in Newberry Springs.  Any personalized stories welcome here, about lack of service, what specific problems it has caused, and what you would do if you had high speed Internet (education / safety / saving on purchases / job opportunites / health / see above pointers).   Also, any statements about the unaffordable high cost of wireless broadband service in Newberry Springs, and the quality of the service if spotty.  We hope Frontier will make a commitment to bring our community broadband.]

[Be sure to make the following specific requests at the end:

1. Require Frontier to commit to bring broadband services to Newberry Springs.
2. Require Frontier to offer an affordable $10-monthly broadband rate for low income families so our community can be part of the Information Age and prepare our youth for a global economy, our businesses to reach a global marketplace, etc.]

[Your signature]

[Print your name]

CC:  President Michael Picker
        Commissioner Mike Florio
        Commissioner Liane Randolph
        Commissioner Carla Peterman
        Karl Bemesderfer, Administrative Law Judge


(1)  Mail your original support letter to Commissioner Catherine Sandoval (at 505 Van Ness Avenue) and a copy to each of the CC's (the other commissioners and the judge -- all at the same address).

(2)  In addition, make sure to e-mail or mail via USPS a copy to the CPUC PUBLIC ADVISOR TO ENSURE YOUR LETTER BECOMES PART OF THE FORMAL RECORD:
CPUC Public Advisor, 505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103, San Francisco, CA 94102
(All letters that the CPUC PUBLIC ADVISOR receives with the SUBJECT line will be recorded.)

(3)  Please assist us by mailing via USPS or electronically cc: a copy to the Newberry Springs Community Alliance so that the community can better organize our efforts to acquire broadband.

NSCA • P.O. Box 11 • Newberry Springs, CA 92365
newberrysprings @

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