Internet Options in Nevada County

National Broadband Map

The new Broadband Map website maintained by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an online tool that allows users to search and compare broadband internet availability and speeds at their specific address. The website provides a wealth of information related to broadband connectivity, including information on broadband providers, types of service available, and connection speeds. Be sure to dispute any carrier that is on this map, but can’t provide you service. Be sure to check that out: broadbandmap.fcc.gov/hom…

NEWSFLASH

www.nevadacountyca.gov/C…

πŸŽ‰ Great news for residents of Nevada County, California! The county is set to streamline compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to remove barriers and accelerate broadband development, with the final environmental impact report set to be presented before the Board of Supervisors on 28 February. The countywide report, available from 10 February, aims to speed up the granting of federal and state funds to individual fibre projects. The county said construction of the latter could start as early as spring 2023.

πŸ“„ For those interested in accessing the programmatic FEIR, it can be found on the Nevada County Community Development Agency’s website at www.nevadacountyca.gov/5…. The PDF report can be directly accessed at www.nevadacountyca.gov/D….

πŸ“° To stay informed on the latest broadband news, residents can sign up for the Broadband in Nevada County Newsletter at www.mynevadacounty.com/b…. For any questions, concerns, or opportunities to bring service to undeserved areas, connect with the county via email at broadband@nevadacountyca…. πŸ’»πŸ‘

FREE INTERNET for people with low income

The FCC launched a new program called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) on December 31, 2021. The ACP is a new $14.2 billion program that is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. It is designed to provide low-income households with affordable broadband internet service and connected devices, such as laptops or tablets.

The ACP replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit program that was launched earlier in 2021. It expands the scope of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program by providing a more comprehensive set of benefits to eligible households. Specifically, the ACP provides eligible households with a $30 monthly discount on broadband service and up to $100 off a connected device, such as a laptop or tablet. The program also covers the cost of installation and provides ongoing technical support to help ensure that households are able to take advantage of the benefits provided by the program.

Eligibility for the ACP is based on income and participation in certain assistance programs, such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Eligible households can enroll in the program through participating broadband providers or directly through the ACP website.

The goal of the ACP is to provide affordable and reliable broadband internet access to low-income households, thereby helping to bridge the digital divide and promote greater economic opportunity and social equity. The program is expected to provide critical support to millions of households across the United States and help to ensure that they have access to the tools and resources needed to participate fully in the digital economy.

ACP eligible providers that provide a $0 with ACP plan:


TREELINK Fixed Wireless – Looking for affordable internet? Check out Treelink’s distributed mesh fixed wireless! πŸ“ΆπŸŒ They offer a $0 plan with ACP eligibility. Sign up at treelink.us/ to enjoy internet connectivity. Treelink uses Althea blockchain technology to make internet available to residents near Nevada City. The service area uses ADI (AT&T Dedicated Internet), and Comcast as exit nodes. πŸŒ‰πŸŒ²


AT&T DSL – Get connected to the internet with DSL ATT! πŸ“ΆπŸŒ With ACP eligibility, you can get their $0 plan and enjoy reliable internet connectivity. Check out their offerings at www.att.com/help/afforda…. πŸ’»


PCSFORPEOPLE LTE Cellular – Get affordable internet and technology options from @pcsforpeople! πŸ’»πŸ“± They offer mobile hotspot-based internet service using the πŸ“Ά T-Mobile network, with unlimited and up to 23GB/month of high-speed prioritized data. After 23GB, heavy data users may experience slower speeds due to data deprioritization. Plus, you can snag a laptop for just $10 πŸ’» www.pcsforpeople.org.


Other low income Internet programs:

Complete List of Available Internet Options

List is sorted by relative speed, and type.

Fiber Internet (synchronous)

Pros:

  • Very fast and reliable speeds, both upstream and downstream
  • Good for heavy internet usage, such as streaming and online gaming
  • Future-proof technology that can handle increasing demands

Cons:

  • Can be expensive, especially for higher speeds
  • Limited availability in some areas due to infrastructure requirements
  • Vulnerable to damage from construction and natural disasters
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
AT&T ABFMetroShared: Best option if available.N/A
AT&T ADI/MISMost placesDedicated: Very expensive.N/A
Vast NetworksCoverage mapMiddle-mile project funded by ARRA, can be better price than ADI. Not sure about last mile.vastnetworks.com/
Race CommunicationsHwy 174 to Airport in Grass ValleyGoes down often, well priced. Speeds are much slower than advertised.www.race.com/
Newtown FiberNewtown Rd.N/A
Nevada County FiberBanner MountainAccepts ACP.www.nevcofiber.com/
Northern Sierra BBPBuck Mountain Road, Oak Drive, Arianna Court, Sunset View Court, and Mountain ParkThe Northern Sierra Broadband Project (Not built yet)N/A
Spiral FiberNorth of Nevada City limits(Not built yet)www.spiral.com/
Plumas SierraTruckeewww.plumassierratelecom….

Cable Internet

Pros:

  • Faster speeds than DSL
  • Generally more widely available than fiber
  • Often bundled with TV and phone services

Cons:

  • Speeds can be affected by network traffic
  • Connection speeds can vary depending on location
  • Not as reliable or fast as fiber
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
Comcast (Xfinity)Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley areaswww.xfinity.com/
Comcast BusinessSame as abovebusiness.comcast.com/
SuddenLinkAlta Sierra, parts of south county, Truckee areaswww.suddenlink.com/

Fixed Wireless

Pros:

  • Can be a good option for rural areas where other types of internet are not available
  • Can be more affordable than other types of internet
  • Can be installed quickly

Cons:

  • Can be affected by weather, terrain, and other factors
  • Can have slower speeds and less reliability than fiber or cable
  • Limited availability in some areas
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
TreelinkOutside of Nevada CityAlthea Distributed mesh. Uses ADI (AT&T Dedicated Internet) and Comcast as exit nodes.treelink.us/
Digital PathWestern Nevada County up to 5-Mile HouseNo data limits.digitalpath.net/
Smarter BroadbandSome parts of Western Nevada Countywww.smarterbroadband.net…
Succeend.netLake Wildwood?www.succeed.net/
ExwireTruckee?www.exwire.com/
Colfax.netColfax & parts of Hwy 174 area to Grass Valleywww.colfax.net/
GoSkyWestLime Kiln, McCourntney, Wolf Rd., and moregoskywest.com/

Low Earth Orbit Satellite Internet

Pros:

  • Can be a good option for rural areas where other types of internet are not available
  • Fast speeds and low latency
  • Can be anywhere with a clear view of the sky

Cons:

  • Can be affected by weather and other factors
  • Can be expensive, especially for heavy internet usage
  • Limited availability and long waitlists in some areas
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
StarlinkCurrent round is sold out in our area. RV edition also sold out in our area.www.starlink.com/

5G Cellular Internet

Pros:

  • Fast speeds and low latency
  • Can be anywhere with 5G coverage
  • Can be bundled with other cellular services

Cons:

  • Limited coverage in some areas
  • Can be affected by network congestion and other factors
  • Can be expensive for heavy internet usage
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
AT&TNot available yet in our areaN/A
T-MobileNot available yet in our areaN/A
VerizonNot available yet in our areaN/A

4G & LTE Cellular Internet

Pros:

  • Can be anywhere with cellular coverage
  • Can be bundled with other cellular services
  • Portable and easy to use

Cons:

  • Can be expensive for heavy internet usage
  • Slower speeds and higher latency than other types of internet
  • Limited coverage in some areas
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
VerizonHotspotwww.verizon.com/
AT&THotspotwww.att.com/
T-MobileHotspotwww.t-mobile.com/

DSL (aDSL) or U-verse

Pros:

  • Can be more affordable than other types of internet
  • More widely available than fiber
  • Can be bundled with phone services

Cons:

  • Speeds can be affected by distance from the provider
  • Not as reliable or fast as fiber
  • Limited availability in some areas
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
AT&T InternetGrass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, TruckeeDigital Pair Gain from a fiber connected terminal. ACP eligible.N/A

Geosynchronous Orbit Satellite Internet

Pros:

  • Can be anywhere with a clear view of the sky
  • More widely available than Low Earth Orbit satellite internet
  • Can be bundled with other satellite services

Cons:

  • Higher latency and slower speeds than other types of internet
  • Can be affected by weather and other factors
  • Limited availability in some areas
ProviderService AreaNotesSignup Link
ViasatAlso known as Exede or Wildblue. Viasat-2 satellite launched in 2017. Viasat-3 satellites in development.www.viasat.com/internet
HughesNetwww.hughesnet.com/
SkycastersVSAT services for enterprise and government customers.www.skycasters.com/

Legacy Providers

  • Fiber Internet (synchronous)
    • AT&T ABF (AT&T Business Fiber) Shared : The BEST option if available.
      SERVICE AREA: Metro
    • AT&T ADI (AT&T Dedicated Internet) aka MIS (Managed Internet Service) Dedicated Business Fiber (Available many places, but very expensive) ~$500/month for 10Mbps ~$2300/month for 1Gbps symmetrical up to 10Gbps
      SERVICE AREA: Most places
    • Vast Networks vastnetworks.com Coverage map
      A middle-mile project that had been funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
      NOTES: Can be a better price than ADI, like $1000/month for 1Gbps symetrical.
      Not sure about last mile.
    • Race Communications race.com (Zone 1 has been completed)
      SERVICE AREA: On Hwy 174 to Airport in Grass Valley
      NOTES: Goes DOWN many times a week! Speeds are much slower than advertised. Is well priced at ~$100/month for 1Gbps symmetrical.
    • Newtown Fiber? (VAST)
      SERVICE AREA: Newtown rd.
    • Nevada County Fiber (ATT) ACCEPTS ACP!
      SERVICE AREA: Banner Mountain
      www.nevcofiber.com/
    • The Northern Sierra Broadband Project (Not built yet) (ATT)
      SERVICE AREA: Buck Mountain Road, Oak Drive, Arianna Court, Mountain View Court, Sunset View Court, and Mountain Park Court, in unincorporated Grass Valley
    • Spiral Fiber (Not built yet) (Vast)
      www.spiral.com/
      SERVICE AREA: north of the Nevada City limits in the Lake Vera Purdon Road and North Bloomfield Road neighborhoods
    • plumassierratelecommunic…
      SERVICE AREA: Truckee
  • Cable Internet
    • Comcast (Xfinity)
      SERVICE AREA: Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley areas
    • Comcast business
      SERVICE AREA: same as above
    • SuddenLink
      SERVICE AREA: Alta Sierra, parts of south county, Truckee areas
  • Fixed Wireless
    • Treelink – distributed mesh
      Signup here: treelink.us/
      Althea blockchain technology althea.net/ SERVICE AREA: Outside of Nevada City NOTES: Uses ADI (AT&T Dedicated Internet), and Comcast as exit nodes.
    • Digital Path
      SERVICE AREA: Western Nevada County up to 5-Mile House
    • Smarter Broadband
      SERVICE AREA: Some parts of Western Nevada County
    • Succeend.net
      SERVICE AREA: (Lake Wildwood?)
    • exwire.com
      SERVICE AREA: (Truckee?)
    • colfax.net 
      SERVICE AREA: Colfax & parts of Hwy 174 area to Grass Valley
    • goskywest.com
      SERVICE AREA: Lime Kiln, McCourntney, Wolf Rd., and in south Alta Sierra, Golden Oaks, the Cottage Hill area off Running M, Lake of the Pines and the Ranchos.
  • 5G Cellular Internet (Not available yet in our area)
    • AT&T
    • T-Mobile
    • Verizon
  • Low Earth Orbit Satellite Internet
    • Starlink Current round is sold out in our area. RV edition also is sold out in our area. Waitlist is until 2023.
  • 4G & LTE Cellular Internet Hotspot
    • Verizon
    • AT&T
    • T-mobile
    • Oasisbroadband? (Resells and T-mobile)
    • or third party resellers of the above networks…  Check out all your options here:
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li…
  • DSL (aDSL) or U-verse (aDSL2+ or vDSL)
    • AT&T Internet – U-verse (aDSL2+) Digital Pair Gain from a fiber connected terminal. ACP eligible.
    • Third party resellers
      • Omsoft in Davis (Subcontracts to SonicNet)
        SERVICE AREA: Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, and Truckee areas
        No data limits
    • AT&T DSL Legacy (Shutting down June 30th 2022)
      • Copper from the main office (No longer available from in many places)
  • Geosynchronous Orbit Satellite Internet
    (!low on list because of High Latency realtime interaction is delayed)
  • 3G Cellular Internet Hotspot (Average 600Kbps – 1.4 Mbps and up to 3.1 Mbps)
    ATTENTION: All carriers are disabling 3G by 2022.
    • Verizon,
    • AT&T,
    • T-mobile,
    • or third party resellers…
  • ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network
    Not sure this still exists…
  • 56K Modem over AT&T phone line
    • other third party
    • ATT

Coverage Maps

As you can see, www.nevadacountyca.gov/1…, needs some updating.

California coverage map: www.broadbandmap.ca.gov/
Federal coverage map: broadbandmap.fcc.gov/.
(Hopefully, this should be more accurate by the end of Summer 2020: www.benton.org/blog/cong…)

Background

Many in Nevada County live outside the city centers. Combined with the varied terrain, and heavy forests. This makes finding a reliable and fast internet connection sometimes exceedingly difficult.

Broadband internet is currently defined by the FCC as 20Mbps down and 3Mbps up with latency of less than 100ms. More recently it has been mentioned by California as 25Mbps down and 25Mbps up with latency  suitable for real time interaction.

Only Fiber and Cable offer upload speeds that high. Fixed wireless, and occasionally Cellular can offer adequate download speeds. If possible, Fiber and Cable are the top choices for speed and reliability. There are many areas in Nevada County that do not have any internet options or can only access internet over unreliable high latency satellite, cellular or wireless connections. This is a huge issue. Part of the problem is that many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are misreporting areas served. Or, reporting that they serve the whole block if they serve a single house within the block. Also, many ISPs try to block new companies or municipalities from serving these misreported areas. As well as cause problems for new ISPs getting grants.

gizmodo.com/new-report-s…

There are currently many grants, and bills in the works to expand broadband into rural areas like Nevada County. Much of this is overseen by The California Public Utilites Commision (CPUC): www.cpuc.ca.gov/Communic…
Using the California Coverage Map, you can see which areas are supposedly served, and what speeds you should get. You can also see which areas are eligible for two of these grant programs; the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Infrastructure Grant, and the Connect America Fund Phase II. The CASF has a local presence through the Sierra Business Council called the Gold Country Broadband Consortium. Nevada County has a page with some of the projects they have worked on regarding to broadband
here: www.mynevadacounty.com/1….

The rural digital opportunity fund is also in the works. There are may be some more grants coming with this bill too:
www.engadget.com/house-a…
More recently there have been a bunch of reverse auctions by the FCC to disburse grant funds. The newest round of rural broadband grant winners interactive map: experience.arcgis.com/ex…

Some info from: www.nevadacountyconnecte…

Here is a spreadsheet of the above data: docs.google.com/spreadsh…

More Reading

Also check out this www.nevadacountyconnecte….

More reading: thesungazette.com/articl…

Get Involved!

www.internetforallnow.or…

asfi sheheen netequity.net

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